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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Paul Treu © Gallo Images

Stormers coaches mix it up

A quest to get the coaches to work together as one unit has led to a restructuring of the DHL Stormers’ coaching unit ahead of the coming Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Former Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu has been in charge of the defence for much of the time since he made the switch from the abbreviated code, but this year he will get more of a chance to have an input on the Stormers’ attacking game due to a change of designation to structure coach.

Treu believes that the focus on defence last year, particularly the generation of linespeed, paid off, and he felt it showed in the final Super Rugby match of last year for the Stormers, which was the narrow defeat to the Chiefs in the Newlands quarterfinal. There was little to choose between the sides in that game and the strong defensive effort from the hosts ensured there wasn’t a repeat of the previous year’s game, where the Chiefs posted 60 points.

“I think that Chiefs game showed we have got our defensive effort to where it needs to be in terms of linespeed,” said Treu at the start of the build-up week to the Stormers’ first match of the 2018 term against the Jaguares at Newlands.

“I have taken on the responsibility for set piece attack this season, meaning the attack for the first three phases. I will also be in charge of the set piece defence, meaning defending the opposition’s attack from first phase. The unstructured part is what Paul Feeney (formerly skills coach) is now in charge of. In other words he will look after the defence and the attack after the ball has been taken through three phases.

“I am enjoying getting involved and getting stuck into the attack part of it. Obviously, it helps that after being the defence coach I have a good understanding of the attacking and defensive intent of the other teams. I can reverse the roles well and it will benefit the team going forward.

“The idea behind the restructure is to get the coaches working together as one unit. We felt that the communication suffered when one guy was responsible for defence and there was too strict a delineation in roles. This way we ensure that there is not just one guy responsible for defence or for attack and it brings everything together nicely.”

Western Province won the Currie Cup last year on the back of a strong forward effort and with several top Springboks forming part of the Stormers pack this season, there will be a strong emphasis on set-piece attack.

“Set-piece attack is something we have highlighted for a particularly strong focus. We have worked really hard in the pre-season to get everyone up to speed, and it will be imperative that we have a strong set-piece.”

The Jaguares will subject the Stormers set-piece to an acid test ahead of their three-match tour of Australia and New Zealand at Newlands on Saturday, and the opener has been targeted as a particularly important game for the Cape franchise to win. However, while there have been changes at the Jaguares, Treu says not too much work has been done on analysing the opposition.

“We respect the Jaguares and we know what they are about, but we have focused mainly on ourselves and what we want to do in the early part of the season. There has been a lot of focus on attacking plays and that is what we would like to see come together against the Jaguares.”

Treu said that apart from the players who have been ruled out until after the Stormers return from tour in mid-March, most of the players who were doubtful because they were nursing minor injuries will be in the selection mix for the team announcement on Thursday. That includes captain Siya Kolisi and lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom missed out on warm-up match game time because they were being managed through niggles.


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