The Brumbies won’t rely on the freakish heel kicks and fancy flicks the Chiefs used to crack the Stormers’ famously dogged defence – they’ve spotted their own weaknesses.
The ACT side will be out to extend their Super Rugby winning streak to four at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night when they host a desperate Stormers outfit that’s just suffered tough losses to the Crusaders and Chiefs.
The Chiefs cracked the Stormers last week with an extremely expansive style that yielded five tries after running the big South Africans ragged.
They had a lot of luck though, and none more so than when centre Tom Marshall lost sight of the ball, only to accidentally heel flick it over his head and into his hands to help open the scoring.
Skipper Ben Mowen says while his side won’t be able to copy the Chiefs’ blueprint for success, they did have a few handy ideas that would suit their well-structured game plan.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to emulate a heel kick over your back to land in your hands,” he said.
“But there has certainly been some opportunities in the first couple of rounds that we’ve seen in the way that they defend.”
While the Brumbies are keeping those plans under wraps, one man who threatens to derail them is wrecking-ball backrower Schalk Burger.
The Springbok and former IRB player of the year has been in devastating form after battling injuries and illnesses for two years.
“He’s been an outstanding player and not too many years ago was the best player in the world,” he said.
Burger and fellow international backrower Duane Vermeulen will help lay the ground work for a dangerous backline that boasts Springboks skipper Jean de Villiers, former Samoan winger Sailosi Tagicakibau and the ever-elusive Gio Aplon.
Mowen said the Stormers had the cattle to be a force come finals time, and it was up to his side to all-but knock them out of contention now.
“And I guess that’s a dangerous thing as well as they know their season is on the line,” he said.
“They’ve got two games to go (in the Australasian tour), so they’d be eyeing this game as their turning point.”
The Brumbies will have to do so without four front line players, with Test prop Scott Sio, Wallaby-in-waiting Henry Speight, and lock Leon Power all injured for up to six weeks, while Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani is out for personal reasons.
It’s not all bad news for the Brumbies however, as Wallabies winger Joe Tomane will make his return from an ankle ligament injury alongside reliable outside centre Andrew Smith.