Driving Lineouts: battle of the locks looms large in Sharks’ clash with Stormers

2013-04-12 00:00

THE Sharks have set their sights on containing the strong Stormers’ lineout in tomorrow’s Super Rugby derby at Newlands.

Lock Franco van der Merwe, who joined the Sharks from the

Lions this year, said the lineout

remained a major Stormers’ strength.

The Sharks were able to pressure the Stormers in that area in the first round at King’s Park and won 12-6 and more recently the Crusaders outplayed Andries Bekker and company to win at Newlands.

“But the Stormers showed their character and quality against the Cheetahs last Saturday when they didn’t lose a single lineout,” said Van der Merwe.

“We will need to adapt. They use the driving lineout effectively, scoring tries, gaining metres and winning penalties. It’s one area we need to defend and also attack.”

Bekker, at 2,08 metres the tallest lock (and centre) in Super Rugby, is an obvious threat and Van der Merwe said he had played against him a number of times. “He always brings something new to the game and they will change things. But then, so will we.”

Van der Merwe said he had impressed with the work which hookers Kyle Coper and Craig Burden had done this year in improving their lineout throwing.

“We [the jumpers] have worked hard with them and they have both shown they are very good hookers, and not just at the lineout.”

He said the Stormers were a major threat and had perhaps been trying too hard.

“They’re a strong side and they’ve shown they can beat the best with those wins over the Brumbies and the Chiefs. It’s going to be a big challenge.”

The 30-year-old lock, who has been included in the Bok training squad of 36, said he was enjoying his rugby in Durban and that he found the Sharks to be less structured than the Lions.

“Here they allow you more freedom to play and you have options to try a few things.”

In Cape Town, Stormers captain Jean de Villiers was yesterday talking up new flyhalf Gary van Aswegen ahead of tomorrow’s game.

The 23-year-old Van Aswegen has taken over at flyhalf following injuries to Elton Jantjies and Peter Grant.

Van Aswegen, who has also battled injury in his short career, has only started at flyhalf three times for the Stormers since his 2011 debut.

De Villiers, who will be at inside centre, told News24 that Van

Aswegen had all the necessary skills for the job.

“He won’t let us down on defence, he has a good pass and kicks well tactically.

“Hopefully, Dewaldt [scrumhalf Duvenage] and I can support him well on either side.

“Gary will effectively run the show. I’m excited about that and sure he will do well,” said De Villiers. The match kicks off at 5.05 pm with Craig Joubert the referee.

This weekend’s fixtures

(Home teams first, SA times):

Today: Highlanders v Brumbies (9:35 am).

Tomorrow: Chiefs v Reds (6:35 am);

Blues v Hurricanes (9:35 am); Rebels v Kings (11:40 am); Force v Crusaders (1:45 pm); Stormers v Sharks (5:05 pm); Bulls v Cheetahs (7:10 pm).

Bye: Waratahs.

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