The winless Stormers flew out on Saturday for a four-match tour of Australasia, buoyed by the news of the imminent arrival of a potential match winner in flyhalf Tony Brown.
News 24 reports that the former All Black pivot who had a lengthy Super 14 stint with the Highlanders and later with the Sharks (2006) is expected to join the Stormers in time for their match on Friday, March 14, against the Chiefs, in Hamilton, New Zealand.
The 18-times capped All Black Brown is presently playing for Japan’s Wild Knights, who have reached the later rounds of a knock-out competition in that country.
“Hopefully they (Wild Knights) will be knocked out so that he can join up with us. We are looking forward to having his experience available to us,” Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said of the 33-year-old flyhalf.
The Stormers have been decidedly ineffective on attack, as borne out by the fact that they have yet to score a try after three matches this season.
Critics have pointed fingers at the Stormers’ halfback pairing of Peter Grant (flyhalf) and Ricky Januarie (scrumhalf) but Erasmus has an alternative view of that matter.
“The halfbacks are still learning to know each other,” said Erasmus. “I am giving the a chance to get used to each other. I won’t discard them easily.”
Grant has not been impressive with tactical kicking while Januarie, although effective on attacks, has not been providing the quickest of service at the base of the scrum.
Brown, who in his heyday was preferred by the All Blacks as back-up for Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer, has a judicious boot and great flair when distributing and providing support play.
Those attributes may just be what the Stormers need to start winning matches, and to lift them off the bottom rung of the Super 14 ladder.
Despite three successive defeats Erasmus was not dejected.
“In a way I’m glad these games are out of the way. People forget we played the (Super 14) No 1, 2 and 3 of last year. I would have preferred to play them later in the competition but equally, we fancy ourselves to pick up quite a few points from this stage onwards.
“It’s a blessing to get away and stay in a team environment. One must remember the Stormers have had a change of management and being away on tour for a month will help players to get to know each other.
“Knowing your fellow players helps in the process of team building and sometimes it may be as long as three seasons before the benefits are reaped.”
Erasmus felt that his side’s attacking prowess was blunted on Friday night at Newlands because of the masterful performance by the Crusaders in all facets of the game.
“If you defend for more than 50% of the game like we did against the Crusaders you’ll find that the guys are flat when they get the ball. It almost like not knowing what to do with the ball, and that was partly responsible for the ball being kicked away so often.”
Stormers squad: Gio Aplon, Andries Bekker, Wikus Blaauw, Gcobani Bobo, Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Tonderai Chavhanga, Bolla Conradie, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Dylan des Fountain, Robbie Diack, Adriaan Fondse, Peter Grant, Brok Harris, Conrad Jantjes, Ricky Januarie, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, JD Moller, Brian Mujati, Pieter Myburgh, Sireli Naqelevuki, Joe Pietersen, Ross Skeate, Luke Watson.Tweet