Stormers expect Jaguares to play it tough
Clash between the top two teams in the SA Conference promises to be a physical battle
It is going to be a battle royal against the Jaguares, says Stormers coach John Dobson.
The Super Rugby showdown between the top two teams in the SA Conference at Newlands on Saturday kicks off at 3.15pm.
The unbeaten Stormers sit atop the five-team log on 13 points after recording a hat-trick of wins, while the Jaguares have won two of three home matches for 10 points.
A look at the overall standings sees the unbeaten Chiefs at the summit on the same number of points as the Stormers from the same number of games but ahead by a single point on superior points difference.
Dobson, who replaced former Springbok Robbie Fleck as head coach, breathed a sigh of relief last weekend after his charges scored through centre Ruhan Nel after the final hooter to pip the Lions 33-30.
Now the Stormers focus is on the Jaguares, last season’s beaten finalists.
“We know what’s coming our way,” Dobson said. “It’s going to be a physical battle, our opponents are a very abrasive side who live on the edge of the laws when it comes to niggling and physicality.
“It’s part of their game to get under your skin and we can’t react to that.
“We’ve got to try and get certain physical dominance; it will be a battle of physicality this game.
“They are capable of playing fairly expansive rugby, and so are we, but we have no doubt they will try to disrupt us upfront,” continued Dobson.
“On attack they are quite good with their little tip passes and swing runners, so we have to make sure we get off the line and get the jump on them.
“We know they are going to get line speed against us, so we are going to have to carry hard, which is one way of taking away line speed through physical dominance in the carry.
“It will be quite a crucial clash and a hell of an exciting one. It is so important to the conference [result] because these games are potentially eight- to 10-point swings in terms of the table, so it’s going to be an epic clash.
“And of course it’s also the last time the Jaguares will come to Newlands.”
Stormers wing Sergeal Petersen, the supplier of the final pass of the game to Nel for his touchdown that broke the hearts of the Lions, knows his position in the team is not guaranteed.
Dobson said his flyer would be the first to admit that he was not in the best form in the first two games of Super Rugby, nor at the Super Hero Sunday that preceded the tournament.
“We had a chat to him last week before the game against the Lions and he responded with a great performance,” said Dobson.
“He’s a game-breaker, that’s his job. He’s brilliant in the air, can make something happen in a flash, and we are trying to create more opportunities for him and vice versa.
“We are blessed with depth on the wings with the likes of Edwill van der Merwe and Leolin Zas waiting in the wings.”