Blues

Storm(ers) clouds gathering for Blues

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Blues captain Troy Flavell feels the Stormers’ unpredictability and their inconsistency this year may well be their two biggest allies when the two sides go head-to-head in a Super 14 crunch match at Newlands on Saturday.

The Blues and Stormers are poles apart, both in terms of their style of play and their results.

The Blues, until their loss to the Sharks last week in Auckland, were top of the standings and one of the most consistent teams in the tournament.

The Stormers have this incredible lose-win-lose-win-lose streak that started in Week Two, while they still struggle to find anything that resembles a proper structure within games.

But that, according to Flavell, is what pose the biggest threat to the Blues.

The New Zealand franchise don’t really know what to expect from the Stormers.

“They’re a team that likes to play a less structured game, they like to throw the ball around,” Flavell said.

“Obviously they’ve got some top internationals and lots of their players are great individual as well.

“I certainly expect them to throw the ball around and look to attack, they’ve got nothing to lose really.

“They are coming off a big loss [to the Bulls] last week and they’ll be looking to rectify that.

“That certainly makes them very dangerous.

“When, during the week, we sat down to analyse them, to see what structures they have and how they might play us, we realised they’re a team that gets away from their structure and play this unpredictable rugby … and that’s very dangerous for us.

“That’s the thing about this competition, there’s no margin for error and a team like the Stormers can pop up and beat anybody on the day.”

Flavell, who took a sabbatical in Japan before returning to New Zealand in 2006, said he is still determined to regain his place in the All Black squad – especially this, a World Cup, year.

“Yeah, it would be nice, but obviously I’ve got to focus on what’s at hand now,” he said of the prospect of an All Black recall.

“But it is definitely in the back of the mind.”

The 30-year-old Flavell, who has 17 All Black Test caps, said he opted to go to Japan because his career in New Zealand had reached a dead-end street and he also had to secure his financial future.

He also said that he now prefers to play lock, after most of the early part of his career was spent playing as a loose forward.

And turning to his reputation as one of the bad boys of New Zealand, Flavell said he was determined to clean up his act and ensure his discipline remains impeccable.

“I wanted to turn it [the disciplinary problems] around when I came back to New Zealand.

“I realised there were some things I left unfinished, I want to be an All Black again and that is one of the areas I had to work on.”

Having been handed the Blues’ captaincy also meant he had to set an example for the rest of the team.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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