Home Sport Stormers under pressure to perform in Glasgow URC quarter-final

Stormers under pressure to perform in Glasgow URC quarter-final

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Independent Newspapers looks at three key positional battles that could determine the outcome of tomorrow night’s United Rugby Championship quarter-final between the Stormers and Glasgow.

PRESSURE COOKER: A scrum during the United Rugby Championship match between Glasgow Warriors and Stormers at Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, last season. File Picture: Paul Phelan/, ProSports, Shutterstock (14182988v)

IT WILL be the first overseas knockout match in the United Rugby Championship for the Stormers, so all the pressure will be on them to perform and secure a semi-final place away from home.

Hosts Glasgow Warriors will look to progress past the quarter-finals for the first time at the Scotstoun Stadium as both sides will rely on key combinations to pull them through.

Here, we look at three key positional battles that could determine the outcome on Saturday night (8.35pm kick-off, SA time)…

The Halfbacks

Whichever teams get their scrumhalf and flyhalf on the front foot should have the upper hand in the clash, especially on the attack.

Although this will likely depend on the pack of forwards, if your halfbacks find their rhythm, it will be difficult for the opposition to stop it.

The Stormers will have studied the patterns of the Glasgow scrumhalf and flyhalf diligently, especially if they stick to the ones that outplayed Zebre a week ago. The experience of flyhalf Duncan Weir and the youthfulness of No 9 Jamie Dobie could pose some headaches, especially Dobie’s attacking abilities around the ruck area.

But Stormers pivot Manie Libbok has repeatedly shown that he is a game-changer on his own, and his love of performing against Scottish sides will be key for his team.

The Midfield

Probably the key duel on the pitch regarding the attack and defence of the two sides.

The Stormers will likely field an unfamiliar outside centre because of injuries to key personnel, but they should not be underestimated in this all-important clash.

Dan du Plessis and Wandisile Simelane have shown heaps of promise next to each other, and the possible introduction of Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu could bring some more unpredictability to the Stormers’ backline.

But keeping the deadly Glasgow combination of Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones in check on defence will be key in this battle. If they get an inch of space, they will punish tacklers.

The Locks

The Stormers’ line-out jumpers didn’t have too good of a showing initially against the Lions, and saw some throw-ins being taken by their opponents in their last game.

That will be music to the ears of Glasgow’s Richie Gray, who has previously been at the helm of trying to disrupt the line-outs of the Stormers. And he will do that again tomorrow evening.

Salmaan Moerat and Ruben van Heerden are both experienced and should know how to deal with the likes of Gray.

But the line-out will not be the only place they’ll clash heads. Protecting the breakdown of their respective sides, and putting their bodies on the line with carries and tackles will be the other priority, and whoever excels in this area will be able to put their team on the front foot.

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