Springbok lock Andries Bekker again displayed his exceptional try-scoring ability when he touched down for a hat-trick in the Stormers’ 55-14 pre-season rout against Boland in Wellington on Saturday.
Rugby 365 reports that the eight-tries-to-two rout was not entirely a one-sided affair, at least not in the first half – when the Stormers’ second-string selection managed to secure just a 15-0 advantage in the first 40 minutes.
However, once coach Rassie Erasmus introduced his big guns – including Bekker – the game had an entirely different complexion.
It was a game that would have told the Stormers coach, Erasmus, much about his back-up players.
Before the game he asked for them to be tested and in a scrappy first half they were found wanting.
What the game also proved is that the Stormers have, in their frontline players, a classy outfit that can go a long way this year. But depth may be a problem, based on what was on display before the half-time break.
It was again in key departments – hooker, lock and flyhalf – where the lack of quality back-up look set to become a headache.
But it was the introduction – after the break – of players like Bekker at lock, hooker Schalk Brits, wing Tonderai Chavhanga and even fullback Percy Montgomery, who started the game, that had the biggest impact on the flow of the game.
It was a game in which you could find as many positives as negatives – such as Tongan triallist Alipate Fatafehi, who showed lots of strength and pace with the few chances he had, but also displayed the Pacific Islanders’ propensity for ridiculously dangerous tackling methods. His reward was 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Positives would also include the performances of frontline hooker Schalk Brits and loose forward Duane Vermeulen. Brits in particular, was the energy that sparked the team after the break.
The opposite was true of the starting No.2 Deon Fourie, whose skills at putting the ball into the line-outs left a lot to be desired.
Tries: Scholtz, Peach
Cons: Watts, Cornelius
For the Stormers:
Tries: Fourie, Koster, Bekker 3, Chavhanga 2, Montgomery
Cons: Pietersen 6
Yellow card: Alipate Fatafehi (Stormers – dangerous tackle)
Boland: 15 Justin Peach, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Hein Myburgh, 12 Dewey Swartbooi, 11 Cornel Hendricks, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 David Hendricks, 7 Conrad Burke (captain), 6 Zolani Mofu, 5 Rito Hlungwani, 4 Nico Esterhuyse, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Clemen Lewis, 1 Harry Vermaas.
Replacements – from: Janro van Niekerk, Ivan Espag, Frikkie Spies, Smit Janse van Rensburg, Andre du Toit, Danie van der Merwe, Lionel Cornelius, Alvin Hugo, Godwin Damon.
Stormers: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Nick Koster, 13 Dylan Des Fountain, 12 Morgan Newman, 11 Alipate Fatafehi, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Pieter Louw, 6 Conraad Brits, 5 AJ Venter (captain), 4 George Earle, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements – from: Schalk Brits, Wicus Blaauw, Schalk Ferreira, Hilton Lobberts, Adriaan Fondse, Andries Bekker, Duane Vermeulen, Bolla Conradie, Ricky Januarie, Peter Grant, Jean de Villiers, Gcobani Bobo, Tonderai Chavhanga, Sireli Naqelevuki