Questions about a supposed lack of strike power in the backline and the battle for Springbok places will not distract the Stormers from their main goal - winning the Super Rugby competition.
The Cape Town franchise got their 2012 campaign off to a winning start, with the biggest margin of Round One. However, despite the 39-26 win over the Hurricanes last week, questions were asked about the manner in which their three tries were scored.
Utility back Gio Aplon, who will feature on the right wing this week after wearing No.11 against the Hurricanes, scored the first try - following a well-timed pass by injured captain Schalk Burger and some neat stepping. The other two tries came from the forwards - Siya Kolisi was at the end of a powerful maul for the second and the third was a penalty try, also the result of the Stormers' impressive mauling.
While stand-in captain Jean de Villiers said they would like to provide the outside backs with more opportunities, the Stormers will continue to use their forwards if it means winning more games.
And he was supported by Aplon, who dismissed the notion that competing for places in new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's team is adding additional pressure on backs to score tries and impress.
"First of all, it has to be a team effort," Aplon said about Saturday's showdown with a Sharks team that features Springbok outside back JP Pietersen and hard-running wing Lwazi Mvovo as his direct opponent.
"You have to put individual battles aside," Aplon said, adding: "It is going to require a massive team effort.
"The Sharks are a good team and that is what we have to focus on.
"We have learnt from the past ... coming close in the Final, coming close in the semifinal. It is not the individuals that will win the games, it will be the team."
He said the team's collective focus is on winning the Super Rugby competition.
"All of us wants to have a trophy in Cape Town and that is our main focus now ... to win this competition.
"Being selected for the Springboks will be a bonus on top of that. Our focus is on winning this competition. Whatever happens after that, whoever gets selected for the Springboks and impresses [new Bok coach] Heyneke Meyer, that's a bonus - for us it is only about the Stormers now."
Both Aplon and De Villiers said the lack of try-scoring bonus points in Week One can easily be put down to early season jitters and has nothing to do with a lack of strike power among the Stormers' backs.
"It was the first game of the season," Aplon said, adding: "The teams were feeling each other out.
"We did very well up front and if the forwards are on the front foot we don't really want to take the ball off them.
"Our [the backs'] chances will come in the weeks ahead.
"What is important for us at the Stormers is to find that balance between domination up front and striking with the backs.
"The time [for tries] will come. As the competition progresses you will see that in different games different approaches are required - if the forwards don't dominate we can strike with the backs."
De Villiers also spoke of "early days" and a resulting lack of cohesion.
"We are under pressure to perform, get the win ... only after that you work on getting tries and the bonus points," De Villiers said.
"If you win all your games you will be at the top end of the standings. Bonus points are exactly that, a bonus.
"If you get into a situation where you can go for the bonus points, we would like to do it.
"However, at this stage it is all about winning and improve cohesion in the group.
"Yes, we would like to give them [the backs] more ball, but if your forward dominate in the set pieces and with their driving as they did, you want to make as many metres as you can."
He also spoke of finding the right balance between forwards and backs play.
By Jan de Koning
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