But that doesn’t mean the Stormers should underestimate them, because the Japanese side more than make up for their lack of brawn up front with plenty of smarts.
In most scrum contests, the team feeding the ball hardly hooks the ball because of the pressure coming from the opposing side. So they would rather scrum over the ball, so that the hooker also concentrates on pushing.
The Sunwolves, though, are still “old school”, because they try to get the ball quickly out of the oven before the opposing pack burns them. It’s something that nullifies teams like the Stormers, who love to put the heat on at scrum time.
“They have a very fast channel one ball and if they do it properly, you don’t have enough time (to put the pressure on),” veteran loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg said.
“Some teams hook the ball and others don’t. The Sunwolves hook the ball because they play a channel one ball.
“There are one or two things we are working on, and I think it’s going to be important to get our set-pieces right and not think about them too much.
“Rugby is a funny game, you can’t be complacent and you have to be up for every game.”
Some critics say a pack of forwards are only as good as their last scrum. And, if you take the Stormers’ last shove, then they seriously have to improve.
In their previous match against the Waratahs at Newlands, Robbie Fleck’s men let a five-point lead slip in the final few minutes of the game after their scrum disintegrated on their own tryline.
Yes, there were mitigating factors, like replacement scrumhalf Louis Schreuder not taking the ball out when it was available. But the Stormers should have braced themselves for the Australians’ second shove.
“Stuff like that happens in a game and I can’t really pin-point what happened,” Janse van Rensburg said. “But that is behind us now, it was two weeks ago against the Waratahs.
“We don’t want such things to happen. And us as a forward pack has taken responsibility for that, and we really worked hard so that it doesn’t happen again, to make a mistake in that situation.”
Original source: Stormers relishing forward challenge