At half time the feeling was that something just needs to click, after the game it was like listening to Peter de Villiers after the Boks loss to Australia in Durban.
The one thing you have to give Rassie and Jean is that they make no excuses for the Stormers’ poor performances of late, but as a fan and a person reporting from Newlands week in and week out the reasoning is becoming pale and predictable.
Rassie is an astute student of the game. He brings in new ideas, a fresh approach and things other coaches in time will copy but as Peter de Villiers, he gets ahead of himself.
Rassie in the post match conference said he was determined to carry on with his rugby philosophy and current structures for as long as the players and fellow coaches buys into it, and this is where the problems start.
Having been in a similar position myself I can tell you that if you sell a romantic idea to romantics of rugby, they will buy into it if you are convincing enough, and Rassie definitely is.
Rassie knows and understands rugby at a level most people don’t, which in itself is a massive advantage but only if you apply simple rugby principles to it as-well.
Jean and the team buys into Rassie’s vision because he advocates what has become the holy grail of rugby; playing a beautiful attacking brand.
Now I have long supported this brand of rugby myself as most of you will know, but in order to pull this off you need to be able to operate at a level very seldom seen in the world of rugby. Most importantly, you can only operate at this level, once you have got the basics of the game nailed – and this is where the Stormers fall short.
I suppose the simplest cliché I can use for the Stormers is one Super rugby coach supremo, Robbie Deans once used; ‘You have to earn the right to play wide’.
This is the problem I had with Peter de Villiers and this is the same problem I have with Rassie Erasmus and the Stormers.
If you can explain it in a 10-step process analogy then Rassie, as with Peter, are jumping from steps 1 and 2 to steps 7 and 8 in trying to play this brand of rugby forgetting that before you can move on to step 4, you have to master step 3.
Again, there is nothing wrong with the philosophy, it is in the application they fall short.
In two weeks the Stormers have probably left 7 tries on the table through bad decision making and execution (handling, passing, etc.) and where Rassie is seeking the answer or explaining it in ‘luck’ just having to go their way for a change I can tell him quite simply that it has nothing to do with luck, but all to do in patient application in the basics of the game, and getting his team to master this, before they attempt to move on to razzle-dazzle rugby.
Simple things like going forward first before you go wide, guarding possession with your life rather than kicking it away aimlessly, getting your first phase plays sorted out and playing for the man next to you and not to him.
Rassie thinks he needs a bit of luck, I believe he needs to take 4 steps back to move 7 forward and live up to the promise this team show.Tweet