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Stormers prepare defence for Crusaders

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Monday, May 13, 2019    Getty Images

The Stormers have had plenty of time to think about the game having had the bye at the weekend. They have been preparing for the game at their high-performance centre and will be expecting to have flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit back from injury for the game.

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There is also the chance that first five-eighths Jean-Luc du Plessis will have recovered from a hamstring injury allowing him to play.

But Stormers assistant coach Norman Laker said having seen the Crusaders beat the Bulls 45-13 at the weekend it was clear they would have to lift their defensive effort.

"We have been priding ourselves on our defence over the last few weeks. It has been going well all season. It is also a good challenge and something we look forward to," he told South African media.

"Obviously the results have not gone our way. Normally, if your defence is good then you get the result, but unfortunately in this case, it has not been like that. 

"We have come [up] short by five or six points on some occasions and the team have actually played well and defended well.
"They [the Crusaders] are a well-coached team and have experienced players in certain positions which make a huge difference. Especially in the flyhalf and centre positions, while also having [No.8] Kieran Read and [lock] Sam Whitelock back. We need to stay patient defensively," he said.

However, Laker said the Sharks in their 21-21 draw with the Crusaders in Christchurch had shown would could be done by shutting down the space available to them.

"The Sharks were phenomenal playing in those conditions, and I do think it suited the Sharks a bit more than the Crusaders. But the Sharks physically manned up to the Crusaders and defensively were outstanding," he said.

Apart from the defensive issues, the Stormers would also have to find a way of coping for the Crusaders' kicking game, dominated by first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga who had an extraordinary game against the Bulls.

Two kicks Mo'unga put in for his wings in Pretoria had been brilliant and were tough to contain.

"It is the understanding between the flyhalf and the two wingers. You can't really plan for something like that. You must just be aware that it might come your way and make sure you know where the opposition wing is standing," he said.