What pressure? Stormers not putting needless burden to win this week after 16-16 draw

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Stormers forwards Rito Hlungwani. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
Stormers forwards Rito Hlungwani. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)
  • The Stormers agree they did not play to their potential in rainy conditions against Ospreys at the weekend.
  • They will be presented with an opportunity to resurrect matters when they face Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.
  • Forwards coach Rito Hlungwani has already identified, and worked on with the team, the areas they were caught out in.

The Stormers have identified areas which will require their immediate attention following their rainy draw against Ospreys last weekend in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

However, there is no pressure to bag a win and finish their tour unbeaten.

Last season, the Stormers played four away games at the start of the campaign, losing two and coming back with a draw and a win.

A 16-16 share of the spoils means the current champions are still unbeaten in the current campaign and forwards coach Rito Hlungwani is adamant key focus areas are known to them.

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They face Cardiff in the late game on Saturday.

"The weather played a role for both sides," Hlungwani said as he reflected on their past performance.

"We felt we were not as good as we could have been, and that's the focus: to sharpen up where we didn't do well. 

"Mauling was a part of it and a bit around the breakdown. But we feel we didn't play to our potential."

Hlungwani was sympathetic to his players given how they were presented with conditions that they aren't accustomed to regularly and aren't known to suit their standard game plan.

"The boys tried really hard under conditions and circumstances last week," he said.

Nama Xaba. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Flank Nama Xaba, who played in a back-row consisting of Evan Roos and Hacjivah Dayimani, didn't read too much into how things panned out and by his own admission, there's another chance to rectify their game ahead of Saturday's encounter.

Asked if there is pressure to finish with a win this weekend, he said:

No, not really. We need to get to our level of preparation and not see the pressure. We've fixed what we think were the problems [from last week] and we're confident going into the game.

Xaba commented on his own game, saying the breakdown was where the players were expected to roll up their sleeves.

"Everything felt like a contest. There were times where I felt they had the upper hand and that's something for me personally to work on - and not only the defensive breakdown, but our offensive work as well."

Much is also made about the different referee interpretations in the much contested area of the breakdown and the fracas that oftentimes ensues:

It's all about presenting the right picture for the referee at the breakdown, but the way our defensive system is set up, I feel very empowered to make those decisions.

The Stormers will name their side for the clash on Friday afternoon.

Kick-off in that game is at 20:35 (SA time) on Saturday.

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