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WHAT must be impressing Stormers coach Allistair Coetzee more than the fact that his team is sitting second on the Super 14 log - one point behind the Bulls - is the style of rugby the team is producing.

WHAT must be impressing Stormers coach Allistair Coetzee more than the fact that his team is sitting second on the Super 14 log - one point behind the Bulls - is the style of rugby the team is producing.

The free-flowing and adventurous rugby Western Province sides regularly produced in the 1980s and 1990s is back ... and what a pleasure it is to watch.

With a bye this weekend before going on their four-week tour overseas, Coetzee and company can reflect on what they have achieved so far this season and strategise for what lies ahead.

Clashes against the Western Force (April 2), Blues (April 10), Chiefs (April 16) and Reds (April 23) await them in their quest for a semifinal berth. And judging by their form these past few weeks, they will fancy their chances in each clash.

Their defence has been superb and have leaked only 59 points in five matches, by far the best defensive rate in the competition.

This was once again emphasised on Saturday against the Cheetahs at Newlands when only one try was leaked.

Losing Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was suitably impressed.

"The Stormers have a great pack that does not have to stand back for anyone in the Super 14," Drotske reportedly told the rugby website Super 14.

"Their forwards have improved massively and that has been the main reason for the team's improvement.

"Their one-on-one defence is very good and they seldom miss a tackle."

Though Peter Grant missed Saturday's match due to an injury he picked up moments before it started, the gangly flyhalf this year provides the catalyst on which the side is based.

Always a strong defender, it's his kicking game that has come on in leaps and bounds compared with last season. His decision-making is also sure and precise while the experience from those outside him seems to be filtering back.

At No 8 the strong Duane Vermeulen has proved there is life after Luke Watson.

His combination with fellow loosies Schalk Burger and Francois Louw must be the envy of many coaches in the competition.

With a week to go before leaving for Australia, the Stormers will round off their preparations in Cape Town while relaxing and enjoying all the weekend action from the other teams.

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