Crusaders expose Stormers' weakness
April 2, 2013
Zac Guildford celebrates the Crusaders' gutsy win over the Stormers © Getty Images
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder and his side have left the Stormers scratching their heads and pondering issues with their lineouts that threaten to derail their championship aspirations. Even without Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Israel Dagg, the Crusaders produced a game plan that out-managed the home side in Cape Town.
Blackadder said after the game: "We knew the Stormers' set-piece was critical to their game, and the guys have just done a lot of hard work [in that area] this week. We put them under pressure and it doesn't happen by accident. We really prepared well for this week so we got a really good outcome."
Opposing coach Allister Coetzee lamented the Stormers' mistakes.
"Clearly this team stands for physicality, which we brought, and the attitude was unbelievable. Even with 14 men on the field we defended like Trojans. But you can't play this game if you can't win your set-piece, and especially youre linout; that's where we battled. That's why we couldn't put them under pressure with ball in hand," Coetzee said after the match.
Given the hopes the side had in its lineout, it proved a liability against the Crusaders.
"Our lineout was non-existent. The Crusaders also had some skew lineouts; there will always be a couple. But we lost six, and I know that's not good enough at this level," Coetzee said. "It's not just a throwing-in issue. There are a number of [reasons] we must look at and hopefully fix."
"After we lost our first lineout it became increasingly difficult to get a hold on the game because our execution [at the set-piece] was not sharp at all," Coetzee added.
The Crusaders defeated the Stormers with resolute defence (video available only in Australia)%]
Deon Fourie's throwing is a concern as Tiaan Liebenberg, their preferred hooker and and a key contributor with his lineout throwing, has been injured while another option Scarra Ntubeni is still to return from a long layoff. Captain Jean de Villiers denied there was a mental hurdle for his side when playing the Crusaders.
"I don't it's the opposition that's the problem. It was the execution of the team, the mindset of the individual and just the way we played," De Villiers said. "It really felt as if we made so much progress in the last two games, and we've let it slip again this time."
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor