The West

Force learn lots from insiders
Force learn lots from insiders

The Western Force will use inside information in their bid for a record-breaking eighth victory in a season in Saturday night's clash with the Stormers in Cape Town.

Defence coach Dave Wessels, who has had a significant influence this year, was at the Stormers and helped build their defence into one of the most formidable in the competition.

The visitors also have centre Marcel Brache, who played for the Stormers and was vice- captain of their Currie Cup- winning side, and three other South Africans - fly-half Sias Ebersohn, second-rower Wilhelm Steenkamp and flanker Brynard Stander - in the tour squad.

Captain Matt Hodgson said the players had been picking brains all week.

"We have a bit of inside know- ledge with a few players in our South African contingent. Any little bits and pieces they give us are helpful," Hodgson said.

"The Stormers have a pattern in the way they defend, we have seen that all year.

"There are areas where we are looking to attack and areas where we don't want to go.

"We've had a look at that and Dave's definitely helped us out in that regard. We've had a chat about a few things to adapt to the way the Stormers defend.

"Hopefully we can get some attacking ball and score a few tries ourselves."

The injury-hit Stormers are propping up the ladder, but showed glimpses of their capability in the 28-12 loss to the Bulls last weekend, running in two early tries to lead 12-0 before being reined back.

"They have a big forward pack that likes to use momentum," Hodgson said.

"They have scored a lot of structured tries so we need to be right on our set piece defence.

"Probably the biggest thing for us is stopping that maul.

"All South African sides do it well, but not only do the Stormers do it in your 22 they do it the whole field. We need to be switched on for that and get it to ground as quickly as possible.

"They are going to throw everything at us. They haven't played to their potential, but the way they played against the Bulls in the first 25 minutes showed that they can score tries.

"They start strong so we need to come out as we did against the Cheetahs, stop the momentum and swing it in our favour.

"Two wins in a row in South Africa is going to be a big challenge for us. We know it's going to be a tough task."

Coach Michael Foley will give Ebersohn (knee) and winger Dane Haylett-Petty (groin) until later today to prove their fitness.

"We had a few bumps and bruises and had a light day at training to give the guys an extra few days to get right," Hodgson said.

"We've got to get our bodies right and we won't take anyone in that is not 100 per cent."

Ebersohn has been approached by Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske to return to Bloemfontein as Johan Goosen and Riaan Smit look like heading to France.

There is also speculation that the Stormers are interested in Ebersohn.

The West Australian

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