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Ken Borland

Plenty of distractions adjacent to CT Stadium, but Schoeman’s focus is on Stormers front row

Posted on June 30, 2022 by Ken

Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman says the Cape Town Stadium and its adjacent Waterfront have plenty of distractions but his focus will be squarely on his key battle with the Stormers front row in their United Rugby Championship quarterfinal on June 4.

Schoeman is well-experienced when it comes to travelling to Cape Town to take on the Stormers, having done it several times while playing for their archrivals the Bulls between 2014 and 2018, before he joined Edinburgh and subsequently made his international debut, scoring a try, for Scotland in October 2021.

“I feel it’s a massive responsibility because the scrums are going to be a key battle, and the lineouts,” Schoeman said on Tuesday. “And the Stormers scrum has been going really well, they still pride themselves on that.

“Steven Kitshoff speaks for himself, Scarra Ntubeni is also a very good scrummager, and there’s a reason why Frans Malherbe is paid the big bucks at tighthead. Neethling Fouche has also done very well there.

“So we are putting a lot of emphasis on the scrums, but I have to be careful not to make it an individual battle. I can’t just throw my weight around just against those two props.

“I have to do my bit for the team and there are small moments you are responsible for that can make the momentum better for your team. Not just scrums, but tackles, carrying well, lifting in the lineouts,” Schoeman said.

The 28-year-old with nine Test caps said Edinburgh are also going to have to concentrate hard on their defence, against a Stormers side that are equipped to punish any looseness in their strategy or execution.

“The Stormers scrum is really good and their lineout is decent too, but then you’ve got that tight five offloading to wings all over the field.

“Evan Roos gets them on the front foot and then you’ve got Damian Willemse standing at flyhalf and using his quick feet to create something out of nothing.

“Tactically we need to be spot-on, but we pride ourselves on our defence and we have so much up our attacking sleeves as well. We respect them and we’ll have to be vigilant on defence when they start chucking the ball around.

“If you give them a small gap then they can win another 10-15 metres with just one offload. The Stormers are not like in the past just bashing it up, all of a sudden you have the quick feet of a Warrick Gelant joining the line,” Schoeman warned.

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