Planet Rugby

Preview: Stormers v Chiefs

08th March 2013 10:56

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Brodie Retallick chiefs v cheetahs

On a high: Chiefs

After two defeats in as many matches, the Stormers face another daunting task against the Chiefs in Cape Town on Saturday.

To say that the men from the Cape are under pressure would be an understatement.

Last year they started their campaign with a six-match unbeaten run and coach Allister Coetzee knows they cannot afford another defeat even though it's still early in the tournament.

"We're back at Newlands, where we have passionate support behind us, and that should give us an extra push," he said.

"We've had a great week of preparation, but it will still be tough (against the Chiefs). We're playing against a side that has already scored one good win away from home this season.

"They have a great pack of forwards and if they dominate there they have backs that can tear any opposition defence apart."

A key component of the Stormers' march to the top of the table, during the league stage of last year's competition, was their forwards' ability to dominate at the scrums and line-outs.

The set-pieces have been amongst the main contributing factors to their poor start to the season and if they want to claim that elusive first win they will have to improve significantly in those departments.

The Chiefs are on a high after claiming convincing wins over the Highlanders and Cheetahs in their opening games.

They showed in those matches that they are determined to continue where they left off in 2012.

Playing away from their Hamilton home is no daunting task for the champions, who were the only New Zealand team in the competition that returned home from South Africa unbeaten in 2012, after notching wins over the Cheetahs and Sharks.

It's the Chiefs' first visit to Cape Town since 2009, when they won 28-14, but since then the Stormers have built up an impressive home record.

Since that defeat, against the team from Waikato, the Stormers have won 21 of their 27 home matches.

But those statistics will not bother the Chiefs who are a on a high and full of confidence.

They have a well-rounded team with a physical pack and potent attackers in their back-line.

Keep an eye on young All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick who has started the tournament like a house on fire.

The 21-year-old does his primary duties in the tight exchanges well but compliments that with great athletic ability and ball-handling skills.

It will be interesting to see how this clash pans out as these sides have contrasting styles.

The Stormers play conservatively with plenty of tactical kicking and a huge emphasis on forcing their opponents into making mistakes. The Chiefs, however, have an expansive game-plan and enjoy attacking from all areas which should make for a fascinating encounter.

Prediction: Despite going into this game without a win in the competition yet, the Stormers will be highly motivated as it's their first home game of the season. This aspect should pull them through and although the Chiefs will be no pushovers, the Stormers will win by five points!

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborn.

Date: Saturday, March 9
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:05 (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

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