By Ashfak Mohamed
Brumbie coach Laurie Fisher believes that the season “is over” for the team that loses Saturday’s vitally important Super 14 clash at Newlands.
The Brumbies and Stormers are involved in a seven-team scramble for the remaining three semifinal spots with just three league matches to play. The Crusaders are looking comfortable with a seven-point lead at the top.
The Stormers are currently in sixth position on the log on 31 points, with the Brumbies one place below on 28. Just five points separate teams two to six.
“The season is over for whichever side that loses,” he said. “But we are not feeling real pressure. You have to go out and do your processes and play the game of footy. You can’t worry about the result. You’ve got to worry about what you are going to do in the game. And that is what we have concerned ourselves with. The result will look after itself one way or the other.”
Fisher said that he had been impressed by the in-form Stormers team this year. “They have been doing pretty well. They had a fantastic Australasian tour and came back and had a bye. Then they have won every game since. They have a very good defensive line this year. They haven’t been letting in tries,” he said.
“They have (Jean) de Villiers and (Conrad) Jantjes in fantastic form. They have a hard-working back row. They will miss (Schalk) Burger, which is a pity for them.
“They have the best lineout in the competition. They are running at 91 percent before last weekend. And they have a good set piece.”
But Fisher said it did not mean that the Brumbies will be able to dominate the breakdowns easily and felt that Luke Watson was in great form.
“Luke is having a fantastic season. I think the battle on the ground will be strong and the Stormers back row have been tremendous this year.
“The battle at the breakdown is in every game really. So we need to make sure that we are at our best.”
The Brumbies have not been consistent this year and were lucky to beat the Sharks and the Lions in Canberra in the last two weeks. Fisher, who has already been told that he won’t be the Brumbies coach next season, does not believe his team will play at their optimum this year.
“I think we are a long way off our best. I’m not sure we will get to our best this year. We’ve had a lot of changes and a lot of new faces. So we are trying to develop different styles of playing the game than what the Brumbies have played for the last decade or so. So we just need to chip away with that,” he said.
Meanwhile, long-serving Brumbies and Wallaby flank George Smith said that he was disappointed to not face the injured Schalk Burger on Saturday. “It is unfortunate that Schalk’s out. He is a quality player and everyone knows that,” he said.
“But it is always a tough battle in the breakdown area. I played last week against (Cobus) Grobbelaar and he was fantastic. He was quick around the field and this week will be no different against the Stormers back row.
“We are definitely wary of them, but we are focusing rather on what we need to do. Luke is a quality player.
“He has performed well consistently throughout the years. He is a workhorse and he gets around the field very well.”Tweet