Reds up for a bruising battle

The Stormers may be one of South Africa’s most unpredictable teams, a team more renowned for their expansive approach, but Reds captain John Roe feels they could be just as physical as any other South African team.

The Reds will face the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday in the first of two matches on their South African trip and they will be keen to build on the 23-13 win their managed over the Cheetahs in Brisbane last week.

However, they need to overcome the Stormers’ duel threat of the ability to play wide and physically overpowering the opposition.

Roe said the Reds are “looking forward” to the South African trip, because they normally do very well in South Africa.

“We’re a team that likes touring and South Africa is a place that we enjoy … culturally and from a rugby perspective. The South Africans are passionate about rugby and know their rugby,” he told this website.

However, taking on the Stormers at Newlands is certainly not a walk in the park and Roe readily admits it is going to be a tough game.

“The Stormers are a very good side, individually you’ve got some fantastic players right across the park,” the Reds captain said.

“That win [33-20 against the Blues] they achieved last week would have given them a lot of confidence, so it’s going to be a very tough game and one we’re looking forward to.”

Despite known more for their ability to play an expansive game, Roe said the physical side of the Stormers’ game is just as big a threat.

“They can play very physical if they want to. One on one they can be quite physical – players like Schalk Burger and De Wt Barry, they can be pretty hard.

“Yes, they do play a different style to a lot of the other South African teams, especially the guys from up north, but you have to defend very well against them, particularly one-on-one.

“Then, when we attack, we’ll have to look for any weaknesses in their defence,” he added.

While the Reds are still bottom of the table, courtesy of a nine-match losing streak, the win over the Cheetahs last week was just reward for the players’ hard work on the training field and persistence – despite the negative results.

“It’s a start,” Roe said of last week’s win.

“We’ve got some young guys that’s been thrown in at the deep end a bit.

“However, we’ve still got plenty to play for. In terms of the log it doesn’t mean much, but as a team and how we are going to develop as a team in the future these last couple of games are going to be very important for us,” he said.

Roe said that the players kept working hard, despite the string of defeats, and now can hold their heads up high again.

“We kept working, because we’ve got a good work ethic in our team.

“We were close in a lot of our games – we were in front with 10 minutes to go in a number of games. No doubt we had our chances to win games, we just didn’t take them.

“It was just a matter of keeping the guys hard at training, getting some self believe and finally we broke the drought against the Cheetahs at the weekend.”

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital 

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