Preview: Hurricanes vs Stormers

April 24, 2013 in Hurricanes, Preview, Stormers, Super Rugby

franks vs bekker

Last week the Hurricanes narrowly escaped from suffering the same humiliating fate of the Crusaders after a revitalized second half surge by the Force. Things don’t get any easier as they now have to host the upward curving Stormers before they hit the road to South Africa.

It has been patently obvious that they seriously miss Cory Jane, but that drum has been beaten into oblivion and they will simply need to adept or die. Jane was to André Taylor that which Jonah Lomu was to Christian Cullen, but he’s not there, so someone else needs to find a way to bring Taylor into the line more fervently. They have been kicking the ball away an uncharacteristic amount of times, which exposed their notoriously average defensive system, hence scoring far fewer tries than last year and leaking more. After two failed performances at fullback, it’s good to see Beauden Barrett shifting back to first five-eight as Taylor is afforded another chance at the back. Unfortunately with that good new, comes the bad, as danger-man Julian Savea apparently took his on-field frustrations home and landed himself an assault charge; his withdrawal now opens the door for Matt Proctor to make his Super Rugby debut. Another member of last year’s sensational seven that haven’t produced anything special, is TJ Perenara – the youngster needs to get more involved and make less errors if he wants to get back to the standard he has set.

I really have been rather impressed with the Canes forwards; they have formed a respectable unit and have managed to stand their ground against most. The front row has been sublime, Victor Vito is back to lend extra strength in combination with the continuously impressive Brad Shields and for the first time in a month the previously dynamic duo of Jeremy Thrush and Jason Eaton will align forces again. They have an exceptionally devastating backline and although they have been firing more blanks of late, you are always aware of the threat they pose, all they need is a small spark and some quality possession. Therefore, the forwards will have to be at their utter best and everyone else must up their game.

Most Likely to Score for the Hurricanes: Ben Franks

 

 A lot has been said about the Stormers early season woes, but if one takes into account that they have faced a handful of the log toppers – upending three of them – and now have a relatively “easier” trip to Australasia before finishing the season at home bar one visit to Port Elizabeth, they still have a very realistic shot at the play-offs. Getting off to a good start on tour is crucial to their success and a win in Palmerston North will get the ball rolling nicely.

Alistair Coetzee’s Stormers got their own basket of hope in that Bryan Habana is back to full fitness and you can bet your bottom dollar that the hard-working speedster will be hungry after many weeks in the bleachers. With Gary van Aswegen and Dewaldt Duvenage as halfbacks, it is all but written in stone that any wished upon flamboyance would need to be initiated elsewhere. Jean de Villiers possesses the skill to make anyone around him shine when he straightens the line, it is imperative that he does so more often; and someone just needs to teach Joe Pietersen not to blindly run into traffic when he takes off all on his own.

The forwards have been getting the job done although no-one has really put their hand up for a spot in the national team. Only Deon Fourie is regularly carrying the ball over the advantage line and even though he slightly weakens their set phases, he is an essential in the loose. Their pack is boosted even more as Rynardt Elstadt makes his way onto the bench in addition to the long awaited return of Scarra Ntubeni. This is very much another must win match for the Stormers and a lot will depend on where Andries Bekker feels like playing, he has an important job to do at the breakdown without hanging around in the backline, wasting valuable possession more often than not.

Most Likely to Score for the Stormers: Andries Bekker

 

 Seeing that the Canes have lost another attacking genius whilst the Stormers get theirs back and considering the hosts’ dodgy defensive strategies, I reckon the visitors are in with a good chance of leapfrogging to the top of the South African conference.

Gagga says Stormers by 12

 

by Jackie Smit

Stay informed – Like my Facebook page – Gagga 4 Rugga

Check out my other articles on The Rugby Blog

13 responses to Preview: Hurricanes vs Stormers

  1. Jackie, I was less impressed with the Canes’ forwards. The Force outplayed them up front and at the breakdowns last weak and that might be the Stormers’ saving grace. If the Canes backs get enough ball, with Perenara and Barrett at 9 and 10 the Stormers are in for a hard time but the have the forwards to prevent this.

    Also went with the Stormers for a win

    • Can’t really comment on their match against the Force, only caught the highlights later as I was still nursing a uhm… flu headache, shall we say. I was actually referring to their overall effort which I think is better than last year – definitely an area which can do with more improvement, but in comparison with their backs, the forwards are heroes. Stormers should win this one.

  2. Stormers by 12? Very generous from a part time Stormers supporter. Now if you were a full time supporter like me, you would be hoping at best for a narrow victory. Reality byte says the Hurricanes at home will be a tough ask.

    • I think the Stormers are on a bit of a roll and I didn’t want to simply copy everyone else’s thoughts – the bookies have been proven wrong on a couple of occasions. They’re not bad travelers and I think they could score four tries against the Canes whilst their defense is much more effective than that of the hosts. It’s just the 9/10 combo that is a somewhat worrying factor, they need guys there that are not afraid of attacking the line and drawing the defenders. That said – Duvenage will probably snipe around a corner somewhere to score a fantastic individualistic try – from short range of course as I don’t think he has a lot o speed.

    • Good call, Phil. Congrats with the win!

  3. Stormers beat The Sharks in a scrappy affair. Both teams were tipped to run away and battle for conference honors. What they dished up was poor on the day. Only one try scored in the match. The Sharks were worse than Stormers on the day and Stormers won. That was a rubbish game by The Sharks. But the Stormers won.
    Then they get a bye. Now they on a roll? Seriously?
    I think the Hurricanes will win this one. Just my opinion.

    • They’re not on an all mighty roll in the sense that nothing can stop them, but winning those scrappy affairs build confidence and get the momentum going, so I think they’ll pull through this time – the Hurricanes backline is in trouble and that used to be their most effective weapon. For some teams a bye does more damage than good, ie the Chiefs & Blues, whilst both the Stormers and the Reds played extremely well after their respective byes.

    • Tough luck bud, Barrett squandered too many points with the boot.

  4. If Dewald Duvenhage ever makes a break, his 1st thought will be to kick the ball – even if he is 1 yard
    short of the tryline.

  5. Hou boude hou! My nerves are shot and I feel as if I dragged the Stormers across the line. I think the Cheetahs are going to run the Kings ragged.

Add Comment Register



Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>