Stormers must be ‘clinical’




The Stormers and Bulls are at opposite ends of the rugby spectrum when it comes to playing styles, but the Cape franchise is likely to take a leaf out of the Pretoria rugby book when they face the Brumbies on Friday.

The Stormers’ veteran Springbok centre De Wet Barry said a lot can be learnt from the way in which the Bulls beat the Brumbies (19-7) in Canberra last week.

Desperate to get their campaign back on track the Stormers need to string together a series of victories on the back of their 30-17 win over the Hurricanes last week.

Barry is the first to admit that the Stormers team has not come close to playing to its full potential.

But they took a few steps in the right direction by beating the Hurricanes in Wellington and now need to follow that up with a win in Canberra.

“Our intensity was much better on the field and that was the big difference,” he said of the team’s Round Five win against the Hurricanes.

But by their own high standards the quality of the rugby produced in the Wellington victory was not satisfactorily enough for the South African tourists.

“We know we have not played to our full potential and even this past Saturday there were plenty of mistakes,” Barry told this website from the team’s base in Canberra.

“There are many aspects we can improve on. If we can work on improving our standard every Saturday, then it can still be a very good season for us.

“The players realised that we have not played to our true potential and as long as we fire every Saturday from here on, then there can be plenty of positives from this season.”

So what are the lessons they hope to take from the Bulls’ win last week into their encounter with the Brumbies this week?

“The Bulls showed, especially in the first half, how clinically correct you have to be,” Barry said.

“They made no mistakes and they took the points when they could. They were very clinical and defended very well.

“At the end of the day it is about making as few mistakes as possible … especially against the Brumbies. You don’t want to give the ball to them, and allow them to play all the rugby.

“Look at the Bulls in the first half … the Brumbies saw no ball and the Bulls played all the rugby and took the points when they could.”

Barry said the turnaround last week was more a collective issue, a team effort, rather than any individuals standing up.

“As a team our intensity was much better on the field and that was the big difference,” he said.

“It is much easier for individuals if a team plays well. If the team’s intensity and a team’s preparation is good, then the results will take care of themselves.”

He also revealed that the players took a long, hard look at themselves before the Hurricanes game.

“We took a decision that we shouldn’t wait for each other, or somebody else, to start doing something. Every player must pull his weight, because the Super 14 is a very tough competition and every weekend is a very tough game.

“We know that you must be switched on every weekend.

“That is also the beauty of the Super 14 … every weekend you have another chance to prove yourself and every weekend you have a chance to measure yourself against world class players.

“It also means that a bad start [like the Stormers had] is not a lost cause. Yes, the more games you lose the more the pressure mounts. However, you must realise that the next weekend you can fix it up and set the record straight.

“We are only into week six now, so there are still opportunities to move up the standings and we do still have a shot at the play-offs,” Barry said.

The Stormers midfielder, who captained the team last year, revealed that the players have been largely unaffected by the drama surrounding head coach Cobus van der Merwe – who has been in the firing line because of the team’s run of poor results in the early stages.

In fact Stormers CEO Rob Wagner and Western Province Director of Rugby Nick Mallett are scheduled to travel to Australia to launch an “investigation” into the situation in the camp.

But Barry said the players have managed to focus on their own priorities, rather than concern them with the boardroom battles.

“One of the positive aspects is that this has been kept away from the team,” Barry said.

“It certainly helps that we are abroad, because it is not so prominent – we don’t see it in the papers every day.

“We are trying to just focus on our game.

“We don’t have any control over that [the coaching fracas]. What we do have control over is the game and how we play on the field. We decided to focus on what we [the players] have to do and those issues outside our control we cut out.”

The 27-year-old Barry, who has more than 60 Super Rugby caps and 39 Springbok caps to his credit, said he is happy to have gotten some game time in the last few weeks.

“I haven’t played for a long time. Against the Highlanders was my first full game in a long time,” he said about his own form, which showed a sharp upward curve against the Hurricanes last week.

“The more opportunities you get, the more game time you get, the more your confidence improves. You won’t get lots of chances every Saturday, so it is important that you use the opportunities that come your way,” he said.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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