Stormers must ‘handle the physicality and win collisions’
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Cape Town - The Stormers won’t be giving up their pursuit of attacking rugby, but they want to edge closer to finding the ideal balance in Friday’s United Rugby Championship clash against the Dragons in Wales.
The Capetonians fought back from 14-0 down after eight minutes to be level at 20-20 against Edinburgh in Scotland last weekend, but were unable to engineer an opening in the second half to pull off a much-needed victory.
It won’t get much easier against the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday (8.35pm kickoff), as the Welsh outfit showed their class to beat Connacht 35-22 in Galway last weekend.
Perhaps a drop-goal could’ve been a good option for the Stormers for a three-pointer, but it was not to be for John Dobson’s team, who had gone down to Benetton and Munster in the previous two weeks despite holding significant leads.
“We’ve played some good rugby and haven’t gotten the results that we wanted, but now it’s the last game on tour. It’s actually been a good tour for us – the guys have stuck together and we’ve been building nicely, but it’s important that we get the result. We won’t leave anything out there,” Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman said.
“It’s just moments of momentum. We had an opportunity against Benetton to go 18 points clear, and we didn’t use that. They sort of got momentum back, and it was the same thing against Munster, where we conceded points just before halftime.
“After the break, we got a yellow card and struggled to get momentum back. We didn’t have a great start against Edinburgh. Once the other team get momentum, we give it to them for too long, and that’s why we are a bit closer than we want to be on the scoreboard.”
It will take the South African teams some time to adjust to their European opponents, but with the Lions, Bulls and Sharks attaining wins already, the Stormers hope that they can end off their four-week tour with a victory against the Dragons.
“We are going to face different conditions. We are quite close to that good balance of playing an exciting style, but also having that ability to play direct and grind it out. Selecting which way to play won’t just be in the different games, but it’s going to be in a match where we will probably have to tighten up more,” Snyman said.
“The moment we get that balance right, we are going to be a dangerous side, because we are a little bit unpredictable at stages, which will give us a bit of an edge and allow our individual players to shine.
“But when it’s rainy, we have the set-piece to put teams under pressure, and we must make sure we improve in those areas.
“It’s going to be a difficult game (against the Dragons). It’s never easy to come to Newport. They are very good at home and they are a very physical side, so we need to be up for it – it’s going to be quite a late game. The weather looks good, but it will still be a little wet on the surface
“That’s probably the main thing for us: to make sure we handle their physicality and win those contact collisions, and it will either give us opportunities or take opportunities away from them.”