CAPE TOWN – When a team loses as many lineouts – and consistently too – as the Stormers do, the easy thing would be to point the finger at the hooker.
Isn’t it the primary job of the No 2 to find his lineout jumpers? If that logic is to be observed, Bongi Mbonambi would be the scapegoat for Saturday’s horror show at Loftus.
But, that’s not the case for it is of no fault of a single individual. And we know that because Mbonambi is, of course, a fine hooker that has shown that he can find his jumpers under immense pressure like when he came on for the Springboks in the dying minutes against the All Blacks last year.
So, where does the fault lie?
“It is combination,” Stormers backline coach Dawie Snyman said. “Some of it is calls, some of it is a throw, some of it is in the lift.”
The urgency of the matter has certainly been identified.
“It is something we need to sort out. It was a catalyst in terms of losing possession when we were on attack in the Bulls 22 where we could have put pressure on them. Next thing you lose a lineout and you are back in your own half,” Snyman added.
“That took away a bit of our energy. In the second half we won our lineouts, but we didn’t do enough with the possession. We want to make sure we get it right this weekend.”
If only, though, the lineouts were the sole reason for the Loftus debacle. Snyman acknowledges there needs to be a complete improvement if the Stormers are to shock the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.
“It is almost everything that went wrong. It was not just one thing. We made mistake after mistake, so that put us under pressure. We didn’t have a great performance,” he said.
“Everyone had a look at themselves. Not just the players, also the coaches. We were disappointed in the response when we were under pressure, but it was one of those things where one thing led to another and we couldn’t get going.”
At least some consolation for Stormers fans ready to part with their hard-earned money for Saturday’s opening home encounter was the effort showed at training on Monday.
In the searing heat, with the mercury levels pushing 32 degrees, the players and coaching staff put in an extended session hoping to rectify Saturday’s mistakes. They also showed great vigour and passion and were clearly intent to raise their level of performance.
“In the meetings we had, it was said that it is all going to start with our preparation. It is not only how we are going to pitch up on Saturday, but we have to train well, prepare well,” Snyman said.
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“There is still a bit of edge around the camp. They really want to prove themselves and put the stuff right this weekend.”
The Stormers yesterday welcomed back Cobus Wiese, Sergeal Petersen and Frans Malherbe back from injury, but will still have to wait on Eben Etzebeth and Juarno Augustus.
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