Preview: Stormers v Brumbies

Date published: May 8 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Siya_Kolisi_Stormers_v_Brumbies_SR_2014

With just six rounds left in the Super Rugby league phase, both the Stormers and Brumbies will be desperate for victory at Newlands on Saturday having on the wrong end of derby results last weekend.

The Brumbies suffered a 13-12 loss to the Waratahs in Canberra – a result which saw the defending champions move to within a point of Stephen Larkham's side at the top of the Australian Conference.

The Stormers' 25-17 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein proved more costly as it meant they surrendered their place the top of the South African Conference to Bulls.

An area of concern for the Stormers is their line-out play which was poor against both the Cheetahs and the Bulls in Round 11.

They are the side with the second lowest success rate (78.3%) on their own throw-ins and the Brumbies, who have the highest success rate in this department (91.1%), have identified that aspect of play as an area to exploit this weekend.

"They've fared poorly at line-out time in their last few games and it's a facet we've already studied," said Larkham.

"The Stormers are opting for shorter lineouts because they are inconsistent.

"The reasons for that are a combination of line-out calls, movement and throw-ins. It's also a facet of the game where you can blow hot and cold from week to week."

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee admitted that they would have to improve their line-out play considerably if they want to beat their Australian opponents.

“The Brumbies are a very good side," he said.

"They’re very structured and don’t gift you any possession. They’re well coached and well organised in all aspects of their game.

"They’ve got a great maul and line-out (attacking-wise and defensively) and we really have to be up for this one.

“We’re obviously aware that we weren’t good enough last week and although we’ve had a disrupted week of training, with a lot of our players having been with the Springboks up until yesterday, we’re looking forward to being back at home in front of our supporters at Newlands.”

The last time these teams met: The Brumbies secured a 25-15 victory in Canberra with Robbie Coleman scoring a brace of tries and Nic White also contributing 10 points with the boot. They also scored a penalty try. For the Stormers, Duane Vermeulen and Juan de Jongh crossed over for five-pointers and Peter Grant slotted a penalty and a conversion.

Players to watch: Veteran flanker Schalk Burger has returned to the Stormers' starting line-up and delivered several impressive performances in recent weeks. Burger gets through plenty of work on defence and his ability to offload in the tackle makes him a huge threat on attack.

The loss of first-choice fly-half Matt Toomua to injury has been a setback for the visitors. This puts added pressure on Christian Lealiifano who is yet to deliver a commanding performance since shifting to the pivot position from inside centre. Lealiifano must create space for his outside backs and also deliver a faultless goalkicking display if the Brumbies want to be successful this weekend.

Team news: The home side welcome back Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth – after he was rested as part of the agreement with SARU  – as well as loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, who was also given a break as part of the Stormers' rotation policy. Jean Kleyn drops down to the bench after starting against the Cheetahs, while Manuel Carizza will start at number five in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle). Kitshoff, meanwhile, replaces Oli Kebble with Alistair Vermaak remaining on the bench. Juan de Jongh has been named at outside centre, but he has been bracketed with Huw Jones after suffering a hip injury against the Cheetahs.

The Brumbies have been boosted by the return of Wallaby scrum-half Nic White, who makes his first start in a month after recovering from an ankle injury. White replaces Michael Dowsett in the number nine jersey. In the only other change, Rory Arnold comes in for Jordan Smiler in the second row.

Form: Last weekend's loss to the Cheetahs ended the Stormers' three-match winning run in which they beat the Waratahs and Western Force during their Australasian trip and the Bulls at Newlands. The Brumbies' loss to the Waratahs was their fourth successive defeat after they came off second best to the Highlanders, Rebels and Blues in their preceding matches. Their last victory was registered in round Eight against the Cheetahs.

Prediction: Both sides will be hungry for victory after last weekend's defeats but playing at Newlands always gives the Stormers an advantage. Stormers to win by six points!

Previous results:

2014: Brumbies won 25-15 in Canberra
2013: Stormers won 35-22 in Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 16-3 in Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 19-17 in Cape Town
2009: Brumbies won 17-10 in Canberra

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jong/Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom,8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones/Pat Howard.

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jorden Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Date: Saturday, May 9
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT, 03:05 NZST, 01:05 AEST)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

COMMENTS