Stormers

Stormers told to forget the bonus point

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On the eve of his side’s clash against Australia’s Brumbies Jean de Villiers has warned his Stormers teammates not be flustered again by the desperate clamour for Super 14 bonus points at Newlands on Saturday.


The Stormers’ captain was reflecting on last week’s failure to score four or more tries against the Highlanders. “We learnt a lesson last week by trying too hard for a bonus point,” said De Villiers.


“It was good to learn from that mistake and still win the match.” De Villiers also warned his charges about thinking too far ahead but rather stay focus on the immediate task at hand.


“It will be important to stick with the game plan and not deviate from the structures as set out by the team’s coaching staff,” urged De Villiers.


“We just need to focus on winning and we can do that by executing our structures and then the semifinal concerns will take care of itself.


“It’s hard to get a bonus point. We’ll be happy to win and to get a bonus point. Well, that’s exactly what it is, a bonus. “If we focus on that (a bonus point) and put our energy on that, we won’t make it. “We just need to stick to our structures and not try too hard. That’s when you mistakes.”


“This is a crunch game, but I don’t think there’s any pressure on us to get the bonus point.”


De Villiers will be at the heart of one of crucial battles that this make-or-break contest is likely to yield. He’ll be running up his against Brumbies counterpart Stirling Mortlock in midfield.


Both De Villiers and Mortlock have the ability to engineer dangerous attacks and both have the ability to draw the defence and then allow fellow players an opportunity to probe open spaces.


Gcobani Bobo has proved to be an excellent foil as De Villiers’ midfield partner and they are more likely to pit their best efforts against Mortlock’s fellow centre Tyrone Smith, the younger of live-wire flanker George Smith.


The Stormers’ defence has been among the best in Super 14 this season and if they can contain Mortlock, half the battle would be won. It is very likely that the Stormers will target the flyhalf channel in an attempt to spoil the smooth flow of possession to the Brumbies’ three-quarters.


Mortlock goes into the match, having had the added responsibility of mentoring the backline this week in the absence of backline coach Mat O’Connor who was dumped by the Brumbies, just before the squad flew out to South Africa.


The Stormers’ will still be wary of the well-known Brumbies flair which in the past was a spectacle to behold when their line-up paraded perennial stars like the mercurial George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau. Mortlock doesn’t have such stand-out talents to build his side’s semifinal hopes on this time.


Instead, he’s backing his ‘Baby Brumbies’ to rise to the occasion in the Stormers’ backyard where some 40 000 or more frenzied flag-waving supporters will be cheering their side’s charge for a semifinal berth.


Victory for the Stormers could see them move from seventh position to a likely third position, and they would have enjoyed a lift by the Sharks’ defeat at the hands of the Crusaders, earlier on Friday.


Defeat for the Brumbies, currently in eighth position, will almost certainly spell the end of their quest to reach the 2008 semifinals


Sapa – Super14.com

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