Cape Town – The Stormers are wary of the Crusaders’ flyhalf-inside centre combination of Richie Mo’unga and Ryan Crotty ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby clash at Newlands.
The All Black duo were instrumental in the Crusaders’ 45-13 demolition of the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend and the Stormers have taken note.
The Cape side’s defence coach Norman Laker told Netwerk24: “Crotty and Mo’unga make a big difference. They were absent against the Sharks and you could see the difference when they returned against the Bulls. Everyone plays with more confidence when those two are in the team.”
Laker was referring the to the Crusaders’ 21-all draw with the Sharks in Christchurch a week before the Bulls game.
For that game, the Crusaders rested Mo’unga and Crotty, with Mitch Hunt and Jack Goodhue chosen to start.
The Crusaders struggled to subdue the Sharks and it was only a late try and conversion from Hunt that snatched a draw.
The Crusaders are the competition’s leading try-scorers with 55 in 12 matches, but Laker said they were looking forward to the challenge of defending against the best team in the competition.
“We take pride in our defence and we’re doing well in that department of our game. Normally you win more when your defence is good, but it’s not currently the case with us. We’ve lost a few close games despite playing well. Unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
The Stormers have won five and lost six matches this season and currently lie bottom of the South African conference and 10th overall.
Saturday’s clash at Newlands is scheduled for 17:15.