Luck is a huge factor in the Super 14 and the Stormers’ fortunes may just revolve around the fitness of lock Andries Bekker.
That is the view of former Stormers lock Johnny Trytsman, who reckons the Cape side’s lineout could suffer seriously if Bekker is injured this year.
“Andries is an outstanding lineout player. My big worry is that the Stormers won’t have a lineout banker without him,” said Trytsman.
“When you throw at Bekker, you know the ball will be yours. The Stormers don’t have another jolly jumper.”
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Ross Skeate’s decision to go and play for Toulon was a huge setback in that reagrd. Veteran AJ Venter and Hilton Lobberts have both joined the Stormers as lock options.
Big loose forwards such as Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen can also win balls.
“Lineout possession is crucial. You want to dominate contact and if you lose a lineout, you can end up on the back foot for a while,” said Trytsman.
“I think the Stormers have a good chance this year, but they need a bit of luck. They started last season off poorly and if they can turn that around, they can get a home semifinal.
“If you manage to get a home semifinal, anything is possible.”
While Trytsman was a member of the most successful Stormers side in history in 1999, he believes rugby is “100 times tougher” now.
However, certain things have remained, including the importance of sustaining momentum when it’s in your favour.
“In 1999 we lost Bobby Skinstad to injury and lost to the Cats. By the time we reached the semifinal, we were out on our feet,” he said.
“You also need luck here and there to swing a tough game in your favour.”
Last year the Stormers lost 9-16 to the Bulls at Newlands and 10-12 to the Sharks in Durban in their first two games. They could easily have won both games.
After that they went down 0-22 to the Crusaders at Newlands, but won eight out of their next 10 games and only missed the semifinal on points difference.
Even though they won three of their four tour games last year, they play five on the road in Australia and New Zealand this time round. On top of that it’s against daunting opposition in the Crusaders, Waratahs, Brumbies, Hurricanes and Highlanders.Tweet