The Stormers roped in former Springbok and Western Province prop Toks van der Linde on Tuesday to help out with their scrummaging technique ahead of the Super 14.
Van der Linde, who played seven Tests for the Boks, was a renowned scrummager in his day and was also able to get around the park, writes Ashfak Mohamed on IOL.
He was seen urging on the Stormers tight forwards at practice in Durbanville alongside assistant coach Gary Gold, who had taken charge of the scrummaging session.
Gold said that Van der Linde evaluated their scrummaging technique, especially of the front row, before they face the mighty Bulls pack at Newlands next Saturday.
“Toks was here to have a little bit of a look at our scrummaging technique and how the guys were setting up before they go into the scrum, as well as looking at one or two other things that we are trying to do,” said Gold.
“We focused on the actual hit, as well as creating a secondary one. The Bulls are a great pack and they feel that they have had the upper hand on our scrummaging for a while. We know that we will have to put a lot of emphasis on that. They are a good scrummaging team.”
The Stormers seemingly have not made a final decision on who their tight five will be against a Bulls unit that will be missing Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Gary Botha, and possibly Chiliboy Ralepelle and Rayno Gerber.
Gary Botha and Matfield are playing for overseas clubs, while Bakkies Botha, Ralepelle and Gerber are recovering from injury. Another key player, Bok loose forward Pierre Spies, also won’t be ready for the Super 14 opener.
The Stormers mixed and matched their tight five yesterday, with Eddie Andrews, Brian Mujati and Brok Harris all packing down on both sides of the scrum, while the locks – Ross Skeate, Andries Bekker, Francois van der Merwe and Adriaan Fondse – were all alternating in the pack.
“All that (shuffling) is about the versatility of our current squad,” said Gold. “Next week, you will see who we choose for the Bulls game, but it is important that all our guys are in tune with the calls and tactics that we employ.
“It is similar to the whole debate around the loose forwards. You want loosies who can steal the ball on the floor, slow the ball down, jump in the lineouts, carry the ball well, make loads of tackles and have an unbelievable work rate you know that you almost don’t find players like that,” he said.
“So you look at what attributes they have. Now we’ve got a similar situation at lock. If you look at a Bakkies Botha-Victor Matfield combination, you have one dominator and one athlete. I guess that is one way at looking what you want from a lock combination.”
Gold, though, was quick to point out that such a combination could mean that the successful partnership of Skeate and Bekker may be broken up. “I am in no way saying that Ross and Andries can’t play together. They played the whole Super 14 season together last year,” he said.
“We can also never say that Choppa (Van der Merwe) and Adriaan can’t play together, because Adriaan can jump in the middle or at the back.
“They all just have different attributes. I wouldn’t want to ‘pigeon-hole’ them. I won’t say that a player is just a certain type of lock. It also depends on the opposition that you are facing. If you are up against a monster pack like the Bulls , you have to fight fire with fire.”
But with more than a week to go before the start of the tournament, Gold said that the Stormers were not yet preparing specifically for the Bulls encounter. “By round seven, we would have long forgotten about them. This competition is like an 800-metre race,” he said. “As soon as you forget about the start, you have to focus on how you are going to handle the last 400 metres.”Tweet