Time for Storm­ers to be clin­i­cal

Fleck’s chance to ex­per­i­ment against Sun­wolves and erad­i­cate ill-dis­ci­pline

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

How do you mo­ti­vate your­self when you are play­ing a team that just got whipped 94-7? Or even worse, when you’ve al­ready qual­i­fied for the quar­ter-fi­nals?

That’s the chal­lenge fac­ing the Storm­ers ahead of their clash against the Sun­wolves.

The Storm­ers would be for­given for not be­ing as high on mo­ti­va­tion as they would be if they had a clash loom­ing against, well, any New Zealand side (or the Lions).

But here are my five rea­sons why the Storm­ers must some­how try to ig­nore that 94-7 score­line.

1 Mo­men­tum It’s a fact that Rob­bie Fleck’s Storm­ers will go up against a Kiwi side come the quar­ter-fi­nals; the only ques­tion now is who? (it will be ei­ther the Chiefs or the Hur­ri­canes). So, know­ing who their pos­si­ble op­po­nents could be in a few weeks’ time should be mo­ti­va­tion enough to give their all and build on the mo­men­tum that they’ve started to re­store since go­ing down to the Sharks be­fore the Test break. Con­fi­dence will be key from now on, and any knock to that con­fi­dence can do some dam­age. A big win against the Sun­wolves at New­lands this week­end and an­other against the Bulls next week­end will do a lot for the Storm­ers’ mo­men­tum. And mo­men­tum, and con­fi­dence, is def­i­nitely go­ing to be vi­tal from here on. 2 Be­ware of the wounded … wolf There are few things more gal­vanis­ing than hav­ing to play for re­spect. And af­ter the week­end the Sun­wolves have had, they will be hun­gry to earn some re­spect again. They need to. But, as the Su­per Rugby com­pe­ti­tion has showed us over many, many years, a team can take an ab­so­lute whip­ping the one week and come back and win the next. 3 An­other chance to get those com­bi­na­tions right When as­sis­tant coach Paul Feeney was asked whether they would put out their strongest­pos­si­ble side and risk in­juries to key play­ers, he said the Storm­ers were plan­ning on nam­ing a very strong side and that they had to show re­spect to their spon­sors and loyal sup­port­ers. And that’s a good way of look­ing at it. But de­spite not let­ting the New­lands faith­ful down, the Storm­ers can also use the fix­ture to fur­ther check out their per­son­nel, es­pe­cially at cen­tre. With so many in­juries in mid­field, there are not many to check out, but the pair­ing of fit-again Damian de Al­lende and EW Vi­jloen is def­i­nitely one to rate be­fore the other cen­tres re­turn (Huw Jones is ex­pected back next week and Juan de Jongh and Shaun Treeby could be back just in time for the quar­ters). Fleck can ex­per­i­ment with the loose trio this week, af­ter Ryn­hardt El­stadt re­ceived a one-match ban. And need I say that this will be an­other chance to al­low Damian Willemse to show us what he can do? 4 Shake off that rusti­ness Af­ter the Storm­ers’ tight 40-34 win over the Chee­tahs in Bloem­fontein, Fleck said that they were still a bit rusty in cer­tain ar­eas af­ter the Test break. Some of that rusti­ness showed in Bloem, like their de­fence at times and def­i­nitely in terms of their dis­ci­pline, but the Storm­ers can now shake it off com­pletely against the Sun­wolves to make sure that they are as smooth as pos­si­ble come the Bulls.

5 The fi­nal check­list Apart from their de­fence (which be­came in­creas­ingly im­pres­sive as the game pro­gressed) and ill-dis­ci­pline that saw them con­cede a string of penal­ties, and yellow cards to Pi­eter-Steph du Toit and El­stadt, the Storm­ers can use this as a fi­nal check. Whether it’s ruck in­fringe­ments or scrum­mag­ing headaches, the Storm­ers can find the per­fect rem­edy for what­ever the prob­lems are be­fore they head to Lof­tus next week­end.


IN THE RUN­NING: Fit-again Damian de Al­lende will be one of a few mid­field op­tions Rob­bie Fleck and Co would like to test thsi week.

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