robdylan

Rassie getting it right?


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :In the news, Stormers, Super 14 on 19 Feb 2008 at 15:53

The Stormers have always been known as a team loaded with talented, creative players who can beat any other team on their day.

Article courtesy of Ashfak Mohamed on IOL.

They have usually been able to field an outstanding backline, ranging from the era of Justin Swart, Percy Montgomery, Robbie Fleck, Breyton Paulse and Pieter Rossouw to the more recent set, which includes Jean de Villiers, Marius Joubert, Bolla Conradie and Tonderai Chavhanga.

But, over the last four years, the Stormers have battled to impose themselves in the forwards. There have been occasions where I sensed that the Stormers pack feared a team like the Bulls. Despite having arguably a more talented side, the Stormers did not believe that they could beat the Bulls.

The Stormers have always been a real enigma. One week they can beat the Crusaders, the next they lose to the Highlanders or Chiefs. That schizophrenic nature is what has frustrated the Newlands faithful over the years.

But the first sign that the Stormers may have shrugged off their “softies” tag came on Saturday against the Bulls. For the first time in years, the Stormers pack were not cowering. They smashed into the rucks, ran hard at the defence and spoilt the Bulls’ possession in the lineouts.

It was a sterling effort from the big men. Brian Mujati and Tiaan Liebenberg led the assault, with Andries Bekker not far behind. They hunted as a unit, establishing a wonderful platform to play off.

I believe that the turnaround in their attitude can be attributed to new coach Rassie Erasmus. He has drilled his team thoroughly over many weeks in the heat at Durbanville Rugby Club for the past few months. He has brought cohesion to a pack that often played as individuals in the past.

But his argument that the way the breakdown point was officiated was the reason his team lost at the weekend is a weak one. The Stormers had sufficient possession to put the Bulls away, and they surely have realised by now that they let this one slip. The Stormers should have won comfortably.

It is ironic that the Stormers backline is now the point of discussion instead of the forwards. Erasmus did acknowledge that his team didn’t finish off their scoring opportunities. I noticed that there were a number of basic tactical manouveres, the kind once expects to see at schoolboy level, that the backs didn’t even attempt once.

Just as an example, the Stormers did not bring in a wing off the blindside once, whereas the Bulls, who aren’t exactly renowned for their backline play, used Bryan Habana often. The Springbok star came off his wing, was given the ball off the back of scrums and was generally brought into the game by his team.

Fullback Gio Aplon was not given a single opportunity to glide into the backline, a la Andre Joubert or Leon MacDonald, off a scrum or lineout. Aplon did have a few chances to run from the back in broken play, and he broke the Bulls’ defensive line on occasion.

Poor Tonderai Chavhanga was given one decent ball on attack, and made a few metres. But a man as fast as him must be brought into play more. He should not be wasted on attack and be left to defend for the whole match.

Sireli Naqelevuki was a powerful presence when he did get the ball on his wing, but even he was under-utilised during the match. He was the only member of the back three to get the ball a few times from full backline movements.

The Bulls were below par on the day, and the Stormers should have won the match. Now they head to Durban to face the Sharks.

With the tough start that they have – Bulls at home, Sharks away and the irrepressible Crusaders at home – the Stormers need to win two out of three before going on tour.

Now they have lost the first one, so the pressure just builds from here. Erasmus admitted that he was nervous before the Bulls match, which is understandable. He is under tremendous pressure to turn the Stormers into a top team, capable of reaching the semi-finals at least.

Erasmus is a great thinker on the game. He has instilled discipline and determination and brought structure to a perennially laissez-faire attitude in the Cape.

But maybe he should loosen the shackles a bit. The Stormers backs in particular need to play with a bit more joie de vivre. Then we could see the true potential of this Stormers team shining through.



23 Comments

  • Please can someone educate this dumb Pretoria hick and tell me what the hell laissez-faire actually means?

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.02.08 16:04:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • It means

    “LEAVE IT BE”

    what happens will happen etc etc

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.02.08 16:07:41 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • watte?

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.02.08 16:09:47 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • Ooooooh

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.02.08 16:10:07 by provincejoulekkading Reply
    Administrator
    Clayton(PJLD)Team captain
     
  • so laziness, in other words?

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.02.08 16:10:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • What does “savoir faire” mean, then?

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.02.08 16:10:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • I thoguht it meant laid-back, que sera sera sort of term.

    Liberal, anything goes.

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.02.08 16:10:48 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • I thoguht it meant laid-back, que sera sera sort of term.

    Liberal, anything goes.

    19.02.08 16:10:48 – VinChainSaw

    Yeah Vinnie, same thing. Let it be, what happens happens. No worries. Describes that whole mentality.

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.02.08 16:12:30 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Is this dude’s anme really Ashfuck?

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.02.08 16:13:32 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • savoir faire basically means to or the “know how”

    savoir – to know/understand
    faire = to do/make

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.02.08 16:13:47 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Quinny,

    Where are you living now?

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.02.08 16:14:35 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • Hakuna matata, in other words.

    Vinnie – i think it’s pronounced “arsefork”

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.02.08 16:16:23 by robdylan Reply
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  • same place Vinnie… pourquoi?

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.02.08 16:17:22 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Hertfordshire.

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.02.08 16:18:52 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • I lived in Herts once upon a time

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.02.08 16:19:35 by robdylan Reply
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  • I dont actually live all that far from hemel hempstead rob… about 20 min drive.

    Which in UK time is only about 5 miles.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.02.08 16:21:47 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • aaah in the countryside, most pleasant!

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.02.08 16:28:11 by Le Requinny Reply
    Author
    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • must have both of you gents over for a braai in summer. West Kent is truly lovely when it’s green

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.02.08 16:37:14 by robdylan Reply
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  • only if Vinnie behaves

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.02.08 16:39:13 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • I always behave.

    And i absolutel;y love living where i do.

    Very very nice Peter.

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.02.08 16:41:35 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • I’ve matured…

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.02.08 16:41:58 by VinChainSaw Reply
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    VinChainSawTeam captain
     
  • I’ve matured…

    19.02.08 16:41:58 – VinChainSaw

    like fine red wine or stinky cheese?

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.02.08 16:43:50 by Le Requinny Reply
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    QuinnysharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • Sweet. How’s early May?

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.02.08 23:04:45 by robdylan Reply
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