Piece by piece

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July 11, 2017
Piece by piece

JUMP START: Eben Etzebeth

Stormers lineouts to get lift from returning Boks

The Stormers are entering the home straight of their 2017 Super Rugby campaign. 

And while they got over the hurdle that was the Sunwolves last weekend (52-12), it wasn’t smooth sailing. 

Ironing out their issues before potentially hosting the Chiefs in a repeat of last season’s Newlands quarterfinal in two weeks’ time is main priority in the Cape camp at the moment. 

And they will have to break it down piece by piece. 

One of those pieces is the lineout. If you consider the number of Springboks in their pack, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

But leading up to the match against the Sunwolves last weekend, two of their Boks, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, were struck down by flu. 

That, coupled by Bongi Mbonambi’s average lineout throwing and an out-of-form Pieter-Steph du Toit led to them not being at their best in the setpiece. 

Travelling to Loftus Versfeld this weekend, the man responsible for the pack at the Stormers, forwards coach Russell Winter, hopes not only to see an improvement (with Etzebeth and Malherbe fit again for the clash), but wants the Bulls to come at them hard in order to get themselves 100 percent ready for the quarters. 

Winter explains: “I don’t think we played as well as we wanted to.. 

“We’re going to have to make sure we keep possession of the ball a bit better.” 

Of the lineouts, the former Lions man adds: “Our lineouts weren’t as good as we wanted them to be – not by a long way. 

“We wanted to create better opportunities at the lineout. 

“[But] we have identified what went wrong in the lineouts and obviously we’ve addressed it. 

“I don’t want to say it’s a personnel issue, it’s something we must address. 

“We lost three balls, which is not good enough and we want to make sure we do better.” 

The Stormers, meanwhile, will be boosted further by the return of fit-again Bok centre Juan de Jongh, whose experience and leadership will be welcomed ahead of the playoffs, and No.8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe. 

De Jongh might come straight back into the starting XV for this weekend’s clash where he is likely to partner fellow Bok Damian de Allende.

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