Cape Town – Stormers Forwards Coach Russell Winter believes that the brains in the pack play as big a role as the brawn.
While a strong physical presence is always vital up front and cannot be compromised, Winter has also placed an emphasis on innovation and trying to outsmart the Stormers’ opponents this season.
This means making better decisions at the breakdown, contesting opposition ball effectively in the line-outs and knowing when best to attack at scrum-time amongst other things.
“We try to be innovative, we have got some good brains in the team so there are some little things that we like to bring and add, but it only works with buy-in from the players,” Winter told the Stormers’ official website.
One area that will be vital against the Jaguares this weekend is the breakdown, which Winter says is a constant work in progress.
“We spent a lot of time in the off-season on the breakdown, we know there is a huge emphasis there.
“We are trying to make that a point of difference so that we can maintain possession of our own ball and try and put teams under pressure, so we have worked hard on it,” he said.
The line-out has been a major weapon for the Stormers so far this season, and Winter says that the secret to that is hard work and hours of analysis.
“It is just hard work and analysis, we would love to turn over every line-out if we could, but we know that teams prep for us as well so we just put in a lot of hard work and see if we can pick up trends of what the opposition line-out is about,” he said.
“We have also got three loose forwards who can jump, so we need to put bodies in the air and see if we can put the opposition under pressure.”
With a renowned scrum culture in Argentina, Winter is well-aware that his team will be seriously tested in that area on Saturday.
‘We all know they can scrum, they take a lot of energy from it and they have a lot of pride in their scrum,” he said.
“The Stormers also have a good reputation in the scrums and that is why the heat is definitely on there. Every scrum these days is a contentious one.”
Kick-off on Saturday night is at 23:40.