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Monday, June 24, 2024

Defence coach Norman Laker makes doughnut pact if Stormer give Bulls a ‘bagel’

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Cape Town – The Stormers are looking for an improved performance when they face the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, even if it’s in the small things that they missed against the Sharks.

They conceded three tries in their runaway win in Durban and according to Stormers defence coach Norman Laker, it was three too many.

Laker has a pact with the team where if they do not concede any tries in a game, he will buy the players doughnuts to celebrate – and this season he has not yet had to buy any.

It’s difficult to think that this feat, of keeping the Bulls tryless, is reachable at Loftus in Saturday’s (5.05pm kick-off) United Rugby Championship match, but it is something his team are working towards.

“Look, we won’t go out looking for that (keeping teams tryless) but if it happens, it happens. The moment you go out looking for something like that, you’ll get a hiding,” Laker said.

“But buying doughnuts is still part of our motivation, so if it comes our way, we’ll take it. Every weekend we try our best to get it.”

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As far as the north-south derby is concerned, a big battle is predicted up front between the forwards. The Stormers are without a couple of Springboks, but their pack has fronted up to any challenge so far. The Bulls have a relatively young pack, but will be able to call on a couple of Boks for the showdown.

Both teams, though, have some of the most deadly attackers in the backline which will make defending, especially at the back, an important part of the match.

Laker says he is happy with how his guys are going, but he wants to see an improvement from them.

“Even if it’s a slight improvement from what they did against the Sharks, that’s what we want to see. You don’t want to go backward in life,” he said.

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“There are small things against the Sharks, in our whole game, that we can be better in. We strive to be the complete team, but we are still far from that.

“We just want every guy to execute the plan and to improve on the previous Saturday against the Sharks. This is a north-south derby. There’s a long history of this game. Every guy needs to fulfil his role.

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“The defence of our backs has also been good throughout the season, but we’ve had some bad patches. We worked on that. If the backs do what is asked of them and stay in the system, I am sure the guys will be able to do good.”

The Stormers have the chance to extend their lead in the South African shield if they beat the Bulls. Another bit of motivation for the Cape side will be to keep the Loftus team winless against them in the URC.

But on the other hand, the Bulls have a score to settle with their archrivals and are looking for a first win over them in five URC games.

Laker says they are not having sleepless nights about Saturday’s clash, but they know the Bulls will be highly motivated.

“Jake White and his coaching team are doing great work at the Bulls. He was not with the team for three weeks and he’s back, so I’m sure there is more motivation in the team after his return,” Laker said.

The Stormers will announce their team for the trip to Pretoria tomorrow.

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