Stormers unleash blitz

2010-01-25 00:00

THE Sharks arrived in Cape Town yesterday ahead of their pre-season Super 14 friendly against close to a full-strength Western Force line-up at Newlands tomorrow night.

A largely second-string Force team were badly mauled by the Stormers in the opening game of the Tri-Series friendlies at Newlands on Saturday when the Perth-based franchise lost 54-12.

Force coach John Mitchell said after the thumping that he will look to play more of his first-choice players against the Sharks.

These include Andries Pretorius, James O’Connor, David Pocock, Ryan Cross and Nathan Sharpe, and the Sharks can expect a far more thorough examination, particularly defensively, than the Stormers.

“We played our second-string against the Stormers because I want all the players in the squad to have at least 80 minutes of game time before we arrive back in Perth. So I will look to mix it up, and more of our internationals are likely to feature against the Sharks,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also faced by a disciplinary problem with Wallaby prop Matt Dunning red-carded by referee Mark Lawrence for throwing a punch late in the game.

The Force coach says the sending off was “harsh” and the lack of television footage could result in Dunning escaping with a warning.

Stormers flank Jacques Potgieter was also sent off for retaliating after the whistle and he will also face a disciplinary hearing.

The Stormers settled the game in the opening quarter when they took advantage of slack defence and scored three goals for a 21-0 lead.

They finally outran the Force by seven tries to two with their high- profile signings, Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie, showing neat touches.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said he was worried about his team’s showing at the breakdown where they were not clinical enough.

“I don’t think we’ll make too many changes for the Sharks match (on Friday). I want to keep combinations together, although we also need to give the youngsters more game time here and there.”

In Port Elizabeth, the almost full-strength Cheetahs scrambled to a 13-9 win against fired-up Eastern Province on Saturday, scoring only one try by wing Jongi Nokwe.

Head coach Naka Drotske said it was a good wake-up call for his team and the only really positive feature of the game was the polished showing of young flyhalf Sias Ebersohn.

In Australia, the Queensland Reds scored a surprise 26-24 victory in a warm-up match against the fancied NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

In other Super 14 friendlies, the Blues gained a 19-7 win over the Hurricanes who were without seven All Blacks.

The Highlanders also bounced back to beat last year’s finalists, the Chiefs, 31-24. The Chiefs are the Sharks’ first-round opponents in Durban on February 13.

Scorers:

Stormers: Tries - Joe Pietersen (2), Andries Bekker, Tiaan Liebenberg, Bryan Habana, Peter Grant and JJ Engelbrecht. Conversions - Joe Pietersen (4) and Peter Grant. Penalties - Joe Pietersen (2) and Peter Grant.

Force: Tries - Joelin Rapana and Mark Swanepoel. Conversion - James O’Connor.

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