Super Rugby Quarter-Finals: Stormers v Chiefs Preview

Stormers versus Chiefs Super Rugby quarter-final preview

The Stormers will be looking to avenge their 2016 quarter-final hiding at the hands of the Chiefs when the two sides meet at Newlands this Saturday evening. 

The last 2017 Super Rugby quarter-final will see the Stormers host the Chiefs for the second successive year. The Capetonians were thumped by the Chiefs at this stage last year going down 21-60 in an extremely open-ended game. Robbie Fleck’s men did manage to exact a spot of revenge over this weekend’s opponents earlier in the year running out 34-24 victors in another try fest.

Stormers v Chiefs | Saturday 22 July | DHL Newlands | 17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Stormers 13/10 | Draw 22/1 | Chiefs 6/10
Stormers (+3.5) 9/10 | Chiefs (-3.5) 9/10

The men from the Western Cape have enjoyed a solid campaign that saw them pick up 10 wins from their 15 Conference fixtures. They also played some scintillating rugby during the Conference Phase with Dillyn Leyds setting up one of the best Super Rugby tries in the history of the competition with an audacious bullet pass out the back of his hand whilst on the deck. That try actually came against this weekend’s opponents during the aforementioned Conference stage clash.

The Stormers carry some decent attacking form into this one scoring 133 points in the last three fixtures at an average of 44.3 points per game. The worry for Robbie Fleck though, is that while his side is scoring points at an incredible rate they’re also shipping a lot - 82 points in their last three games to be precise. Even more worrying for the Stormers mentor was that his side conceded all of these points against three of the competition’s real strugglers in the form of the Cheetahs, Sunwolves and Bulls.

Robbie Fleck will have to get his men defending properly if they are to get a win this Saturday as the Chiefs are lethal on the counter-attack. This fact could have a massive influence on his team selection, so don’t be surprised to see the out of form Damian de Allende line up in the centres as the ‘Bok is a solid defender.

It will be interesting to see if Fleck fields talented young gun Damien Willemse at ten. The Baby Bok has been brilliant since making his Super Rugby debut but his coach maybe slightly worried about his defensive capabilities, especially against a Chiefs side that has some heavy weight loose forwards who will be targeting the 10/12 channel.

The Chiefs managed to win two more games than the Stormers during the Conference phase of the tournament but still have to make the away trip by virtue of the flawed Super Rugby system – thank the heavens we won’t have to contend with said system from next year onward.

They may have a solid record at Newlands – they’ve won two of their last three matches there – and they may be heavy favourites to win this one, but they are certainly not in for an easy ride down in Cape Town this Saturday evening.

There are actually a few chinks in the Chiefs' armour that the Stormers could exploit here. The Chiefs’ wingers have been rather suspect under the high ball at times so a few well-aimed up-and-unders could work a treat here.

The Chiefs also looked rather impatient against the Brumbies last week and subsequently butchered a plethora of try-scoring opportunities as they tried to speed things up instead of building the phases. If the Stormers can put up a solid defensive wall they may just be able to frustrate their opponents, which could lead to the Chiefs making some rash decisions

It’s early in the week so there’s not much in the way of teams news coming out of either camp but I suspect the Chiefs will be without luckless centre Charlie Ngati. The big man was forced off the field last week with what looked to be a nasty knee injury. If he’s unable to recover in time, veteran Stephen Donald will likely don the number 12 jersey at Newlands.

Verdict: Stormers 13/10
I think the Stormers are about to do something the South African cricket team have been unable to do for years – finally rid themselves of the ‘choke artists’ tag. I think they’ve got the right personnel to see off the Chiefs, who haven’t really impressed me this term.

Written by 
Darry Worthington

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