A look at the Stormers pack for Friday’s Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares at Newlands (7.10pm) will drive fear into any opponent.
With the likes of SA Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Springbok enforcer Eben Etzebeth, Rooi Gevaar Steven Kitshoff and national captain Siya Kolisi in their ranks, it’s clear that the Stormers have the ability to dominate any pack in the tournament.
Add to this the exciting talents of Juarno Augustus at No.8 and lock JD Schickerling, plus seasoned campaigners in Bok Frans Malherbe and Scarra Ntubeni in the front row and it’s clear that the Jaguares will enter the game knowing they’ve got the odds stacked against them.
The Argies selected a second-string outfit against the Lions last weekend and struggled in the front-row shove, but have brought back the big guns up front for the clash against the Stormers, making a total of six changes to their pack.
Of their opponents, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says: “They didn’t scrum too badly against the Bulls and before last week their lineouts were operating at 98 percent.
“We’re going to have to be top notch this weekend. When they’re on song they are tough to beat. We have to be better than we were in the last three weeks to get the better of them.”
While the forwards will have to lay the foundation for the Stormers, their backline will have to be at their defensive best to keep the Argentinians at bay.
The Stormers have done well in this category after the first-round embarrassment suffered at the hands of the Bulls.
And Fleck adds: “One thing about them [the Jaguares] is that they can hang onto the ball and put you under pressure [but] our defence has been good of late.”
The Stormers are preparing for a Test match and, judging by their recent try-scoring record (two in three games), Friday’s clash won’t be a try fest.
Instead, fans can expect a brutal tussle with the hosts trying to dominate their opponents physically.
Like Damian de Allende said earlier in the week, they will play to win.