Super Rugby

Stormers take defensive tips from British Lions

 Robbie Fleck (Gallo)
Robbie Fleck (Gallo)

Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says they have taken note of how the British and Irish Lions defended on their recent tour of New Zealand.

While the Stormers have improved their attacking game in recent years, their defence has been a big Achilles heel in 2017.

The Capetonians have scored an impressive 64 tries in 15 games this campaign - an average of 4.2 per game - but the worrying aspect is that they have leaked almost as many (61 - 4.06 per game).

They host the Chiefs in the quarter-finals at Newlands on Saturday and Fleck knows their defence needs to improve if they are to mount a challenge.

Fleck spoke to SuperSport’s Afrikaans rugby programme, SuperRugby, on Monday night where he discussion the issue regarding his side’s defensive frailties.

“There are certain things that we have to get right for this game. The Chiefs are one of the best attacking sides in the competition. And defensively that is an issue for us. Certainly, that is something that we’ve worked incredibly hard on over the last couple of weeks. We’re working a lot on our line-speed. And what that does at times is it puts us under a bit of pressure - we would make a poor individual decision or a poor tackle,” Fleck said.

The Stormers mentor said watching the recent British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand had given them some pointers on how to defend against the Kiwis.

The Lions surprised by drawing the Test series 1-1 against the All Blacks, with the tourists proving especially imposing on defence.

“The biggest thing that we’ve learnt, especially watching the British and Irish Lions in the last month, is that line-speed is key to put all New Zealand teams under pressure and that’s what we’re going to have to do,” Fleck said.

“We’re going to be tested... players like James Lowe and Damian McKenzie... these are the best counter-attacking players in Super Rugby at the moment. So we need to be smart in the way we’re playing. And certainly, we need to be physically up for it and we need to tackle pretty well. We’ve let in some soft tries lately.”

Last year, the Chiefs scored eight tries in a 60-21 quarter-final win at Newlands, but the Stormers will take heart from the fact that they beat the Kiwis 34-26 at the same ground earlier this season.

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