Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
28 Feb 2014
9:30 am

Into the eye of the storm…

Rudolph Jacobs

Defence has been the trademark of the embattled Stormers for the past few Super Rugby seasons, but coach Allister Coetzee predicted this is where they will be severely tested by the Hurricanes at Newlands tonight.

FILE PICTURE: Allister Coetzee. (Photo by Luke Walker/Gallo Images)

After coming under severe criticism following their 34-10 mauling at Ellis Park last weekend, the Stormers’ credibility as serious title contenders has taken a big knock.

On the eve of their departure Down Under, one defeat would not exactly be the end of the world, maintained Coetzee, but two might just start another trend, just like last season.

“The Hurricanes, over the years, have never been scared to run the ball,” Coetzee pointed out, with players such as bulldozing All Black wing Julian Savea needing no introduction.

“That is their strength – as well as creating opportunities with their ability to off-load –and will make it challenging for our defence.”

Although the Stormers only conceded one try against the Lions, they’ve also just scored one themselves, a mauling try by hooker Scarra Ntubeni, but several other attempts were nullified.

The Hurricanes have come up short on their last three visits to Cape Town and haven’t won at Newlands since 2006, but such statistics mean nothing to Coetzee as before last weekend they had never been beaten by the Lions in Super Rugby.

The Stormers have built up a solid record against visiting teams from New Zealand, winning 12 of their 18 home encounters.

At 67%, that is considerably better than their overall average at Newlands against teams from Down Under, which stands at just under 54% in 22 wins from 41.

Kick-off: 7.10pm