Stormers’ Grant set to miss Blues tie

2011-05-18 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The Stormers’ tour Down Under is fast turning into a major test of character.

As if the defeat to the Chiefs and Jaque Fourie’s accompanying injury were not bad enough, Peter Grant looks set to miss Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Blues in Auckland with an ankle injury.

Should Grant be forced to withdraw, Lionel Cronjé will start in the Stormers’ No. 10 jersey, though that in itself is not a major crisis. Although the Stormers may be giving up a lot in terms of experience, Cronjé did display promise in recent games against the Lions, Sharks and Crusaders.

Grant and Fourie are both still in camp, and Danie Poolman has linked up with the side to provide cover in the backline.

Coach Alister Coetzee said the Stormers had a “very productive day” as they identified the mistakes they need to rectify from the past weekend’s loss. He mentioned that many of the problems were due to poor tactical kicking.

“The execution of the kicking has to be accurate. If you kick too far you make it difficult for the chasers and you have to defend for seven or eight phases before regaining possession,” said Coetzee.

“It led to us having to make twice as many tackles as the Chiefs. We also conceded turnover possession and could not exert pressure with the ball in hand …”

According to statistics on, the Stormers made 210 tackles to the Chiefs’ 101. Every one of the Stormers’ starting forwards made 10 or more tackles, with Duane Vermeulen (22) and Schalk Burger (20) the busiest defenders.

And that after the Stormers led 20-3 at half-time — no wonder then that Coetzee has said that the team was their “own enemy”.

Of course, the problem is that even a good performance may not be good enough to beat the Blues at Eden Park.

“We cannot afford to concede possession against them. The Reds starved them of the ball on the weekend, but started making mistakes when the Blues got their hands on the ball,” said Coetzee.

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