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Stormers looking to evolve backline play after unbeaten start crumbled in final weeks

By Online Editors
Stormers scrum-half Herschel Jantjies

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When, or if, rugby resumes one can surely expect a more ‘involved’ Stormers backline says assistant coach Dawie Snyman.

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The Stormers started the season in fine form recording four consecutive wins, which were achieved through the physicality of their Springbok-laden forward pack and solid defence.

But then fixtures against the New Zealand franchise Blues and the in-form Sharks followed.

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Against the Blues, the Stormers managed to score two tries. However, their lack of creativity and direction resulted in a 14-33 loss to the Kiwi side at Newlands.

In Round Seven against the Sharks, it was the same story with the only difference being Jean-Luc du Plessis who took the flyhalf spot while Damian Willemse donned the fullback jersey.

However, despite the tactical positional switch, the Sharks’ lethal backline – featuring Curwin Bosch, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi – was far superior during the 14-24 loss in Durban.

The two defeats amplified the Stormers’ lack of versatility on attack.

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The side’s inability to switch up their play resulted in outside backs Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla barely getting involved. While Willemse’s performances at flyhalf also came under scrutiny.

Injuries certainly played a part in the side’s performance. However, aside from Springboks scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, the Stormers backline had a relatively clean bill of health.

Acknowledging the side’s biggest flaw, Snyman revealed that the backline is working hard at evolving as an attacking threat when rugby resume.

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“We started the season off with the personnel that got us in a good position.

“However, we want to evolve as a team and not just play one style of rugby,” Snyman told reporters via video conference.

“We have a good idea of what areas we want to work on and have been discussing it amongst coaches while each individual player has been urged to look at his performance.”

He added: “We are looking at improving our kicking; playing a bit more attacking rugby; perfecting offloads and improving our aerial skills, so we are using this lockdown to study our own game.

“Overall our attack is certainly an area we want to enhance and have been working on how to get Petersen and Senatla more into the game.

“Hopefully, when we return to the field that is one thing we will want to get right and have success in that area”

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