Worcestershire Sauce

Same old same old

Written by Stu Cooper (Worcestershire Sauce)

Posted in :Original Content, Stormers on 17 Feb 2008 at 13:32

So the Stormers began the new season like they ended last season, with a loss.

There was much hope and excitement of the Rassie Erasmus era beginning at Newlands. He came with some credibility due to the Cheetahs being domestic champions for the past couple of years, but a closer inspection of his Super 14 record with the same team also illustrates that the newly hailed messiah that has had the Cape media writing flowery pieces that the Stormers were finally ready to deliver on the promise they have on paper, have come to naught.

The first half did show glimpses that for a change the Stormers might have a plan and it yielded 9 points via three Peter Grant penalties, although a few try scoring opportunities went beckoning. With five minutes to go, the Bulls started regaining the ascendancy they had shown in the opening minutes of the fixture at the contact point which resulted in flyer Bryan Habana crossing for the only try of the match.

The second half for the home team had me recalling the general incompetence of the team in past seasons, to often our the first receiver was either Burger or Watson, fine if they intend to carry the ball up strongly, but too often they stepped back into the traffic or shuffled it down the back-line leaving precious little space or time for the backs to show their supposed creative flair. They looked to get rid of possession instead of retaining it and the Bulls took the chance and the ball offered by the home team and ground them into submission. The Bulls relentless pressure forced the home team in to numerous unforced errors which only added to their crumbling resolve and resulted in the Bulls being able to slot three Hougaard penalties and take the game away from the home team.

The Stormers only have themselves to blame, they turned the ball over at will, they stopped attacking the gain line and went sideways but more importantly the pack which had performed so well in the first half went from being a collective to a bunch of individuals.

There were a few highlights, Liebenburg had a good game in the set-pieces and in the loose, Mujati, bar the very first scrum, added some steel to the front row. The second row did their basics, but not much more. Burger aside from a late shoulder charge that will have him on the bin in no time when he meets a ref not quite as lenient as Roos was on foul play, was his usual self. Louw on debut, put in a solid performance and deserves a run at seven. The new ELV’s made Watson look fantastic off the back of scrum, and he was his usual self in loose play, but to often he is at first receiver and a worrying trend that he thinks himself a bit of kicker, a problem endemic in the Stormers back-line. It seems to be spreading.

Jean as a captain i feel is a concern, his decision to have Grant take a shot at poles from inside his own half when he had come up short on one from within the Bulls half made me wonder about his abilities to lead this team. That and more often than not he shoveled the ball wide with little regard for those on his outside. A return to form is sorely needed for someone who hasn’t been the same since 2003 when he was belatedly selected for the World Cup only to be injured and miss the tournament.

Ricky didn’t convince me that his salary is money well spent just yet, but at the same time nor did he really play badly. It appears under the new ELV’s – the scrummies job is going to be to clear the ball a lot quicker – something he will have to work on, but his lack of performance in the second half could easily be attributed to the poor protection the Stormers offered the ball. Ricky is talented and certainly offers a lot more resolve at the base than seen in previous seasons at Newlands, something the free kick nature of the ELV’s will require.

Grant, aside from not kicking the ball out on a penalty, was decent but not awe-inspiring – i expect Rassie will be hoping for more from Grant in the coming weeks. Both wings were anonymous. Aplon had a couple of good counter attacking runs. Bobo showed glimpses but also marred his performance with a few errors. By the time the changes were rung the Bulls firmly had the momentum
and there was no coming back.

The Bulls were deserved winners and if they can play eighty minutes like they played the second forty they are going to be tough to beat. For the Stormers a good first half could not make up for a very poor second half, which added truth to the old adage of the more things change the more they stay the same. Play 80 minutes and the Stormers may well be surprised by the result.


  • Hey!! You can’t expect Rassie to create miacles!! Burger’s muscle memory will take forever to change…that’s even if he is willing to try?
    Watson…more of the same Burger mould….they have been playing this way for soooo long….how can they change??

    Maybe Rassie should try the “ice baths” method1 It sure helped Mayaka forget some of his bad habits!!

    I was diappointed in Rickie…thought he would respond to the new laws…he love to take a quick tap & go….if he was allowed to ???
    Also think he spends too much time appealing to the ref. & not getting on with it…I also think his lack of concentration (because he was appealing to the ref.) helped the Bulls get that Habana try.

    Agree – if Stormers play for 80 minutes…???

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.02.08 14:16:22 by Me2 Reply
    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Oh PS – I thought Grant should have put the ball into touch with both those long range penalties he missed…the Stormers were winning their own lineouts!! Bad captaincy there.

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.02.08 14:18:33 by Me2 Reply
    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • Things are just starting now, we shouldnt be 2 harsh with judgements. We might still be surprised in the long run.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.02.08 14:48:06 by jarsonx Reply
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  • Well summed up… bit more credit for the balls loose-forwards at the break-down and FDP wouldn’t have gone astray…lol…

    Perhaps it just shows how crap RJ was in the RWC… but I thought he was actually looking a bit sharper than normal…

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.02.08 15:43:16 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Wish I’d seen this game… sounds like it was interesting. How did the respective teams adapt to the ELVs?

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.02.08 15:59:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • bryce – correct, FDP was good and the Bulls clearly beat the Stormers at the breakdown.

    Rob – Bulls looked better equipped, hands on the ground count.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.02.08 16:35:01 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • Any weaknesses that you could see? What made the Stormers more effective in the first half?

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.02.08 16:54:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • This was the most boring game of the week….


  • Comment 8, posted at 17.02.08 17:03:11 by Hmmm Reply

  • Just reading about it still makes me sleepy….

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.02.08 17:08:40 by Hmmm Reply

  • The ball. They had some in the first half and didn’t turn it over.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.02.08 17:15:24 by Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • ah – ok. So I guess we’ll see just how good the Bulls are this weekend. Crusaders up, not so?

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.02.08 17:33:13 by robdylan Reply
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  • You would think under Rassie there would be a little more structure, but the Stormers were guilty of throwing the ball around wildly at times, and more than once a player “naai-ed his maaitjie”.

    I honestly cannot see either of these teams getting better than a 6th place finish. With a better ref, the Bulls will be found out big time with their archiac style and unwillingness to adapt (or die) to the new ELVs and how the game has changed.

    The Stormers simply seem to have taken one step forward and one step back and I can’t see them doing any better than last year. Like the Hurricanes and Chiefs, they will play the odd blinder and mix that up with something aweful.

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.02.08 17:34:32 by hellbent Reply

  • The Stormers spin machine at IOL has been unusually quiet today…

    Tell you what I’m a little wary of them for next weekend. Rassie will have read the riot act, no doubt the players will be disappointed, Sharks look a little rusty & voila we suddenly have an upset on the cards…

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.02.08 17:38:37 by Le Requinny Reply
  • AND…

    there’s ONLY ONE THIERRY LACROIX 😯 😯 !!!!!

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.02.08 17:39:32 by Le Requinny Reply
  • If the Sharks loosies (in particular Fabio Venter) bother to pitch for the game, we’ll be ok.

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.02.08 17:39:55 by robdylan Reply
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  • I attend saturdays game and had Rob Louw and kids at our losie. Interesting to hear the thoughts of a Bok and WP lengend on the game. It surprised me to read through the papers and everyone mention Bobo as a shiner in the match.

    To my view he was the guilty part for holding on pill and not spreading it to the dangerous Sereli & Chavanga. The time they (Sereli & Chavanga)did get ball they looked dangerous. To state the Stormers dont had structure is just wrong, they had to much structure and to less of a widen game. The structure in the first half surprised me and hell to expect from Rassie to get it right in his first game against the Bulls with a young outfit is just to much. According to Rassie the Stormers lost this game at the breakdowns and that was exactly my thought to. He made a error to take off the two Francoisse, van den Merwe & Louw at the same time and shift Luke Watson to flank and brought on Schalk Britz at 8. I have no problem with that but then Luke have to adopt his role in the loosies aswell. No one clean out that rucks in the second half and thats where we came short.

    I was also impressed with the defensive and defensive lines from both teams. That is one thing watch the game live you do see better.

    Forget about the ref Willie Doos, he was worse to both sides.

    For me I was satisfied with the improvement in the Stormers. Think after this weekend against the Sharks we wont call the Stormers a light five anymore. Rassie have tighten that one and never in my life have I ever saw a Stormers team taking a scrum in stead of a free kick and that against the brute Bulls and also nearly or should I say score a push over try.

    For me I want to see a improvement on round 1 against the Sharks, win will be a bonus.

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.02.08 10:50:18 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Rob I cant understand why the Sharks dont pick Keegan Daniels? AJ should move to lock now and the Sharks were in desperate need to have Daniels in the loosies.

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.02.08 10:53:09 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Keegan Daniel has been a bit of a walking penalty of late, though… I agree he is talented, but he needs to sort out his discipline. Also, picking him and Botes in the same pack really does leave you a bit light.

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.02.08 11:00:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • Well it look with the new rules you cant have enough of 6e in your team. That Bulls duo of Wikus and Stegmann and Baywatch for the Lions were full value in round 1. The ruck rule need slowdowners like never before.

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.02.08 11:05:24 by PaarlBok Reply

  • aaaha – now there’s a good point, PB. All depends on the game you’re playing, I guess… Daniel is 10 cm shorter and 20kg(!) lighter than AJ. But in terms of speed to the breakdown and involvement in all round play, there’s no contest. Picking Botes and Daniel as a duo does worry me, though… the Bulls (and WP) pull off the dual-fetcher thing because they have at least one really big fetcher. Both Wikus and Schalk are 1.9+ and well over 100 kilos. Keegan is pretty tall, but he’s only just managed to get over 90 this year. I interviewed him a year ago and he told me it’s bloody hard for him to actually put on weight.

    Sharks are lucky that in Kanko we do have one really BIG, really fast loosie. A trio of Kank, Botes and Daniel would certainly be the quickest in the competition. Will that be enough to offset the loss of bulk, though? I really don’t know

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.02.08 11:13:54 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • He’s using the wrong diet… :mrgreen:

    Why the hell, our tight 5 has quite some bulk, the loose trio of Botes, Daniel & Kanko can work…BTW try it against the Stormers why not… 😈

  • Comment 21, posted at 19.02.08 11:31:54 by Charlie Reply

  • Charlie, should he be on the Pierre Spies diet? 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 19.02.08 11:33:30 by robdylan Reply
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  • well, AJ cut his leg while out walking his dog… he reckons he’ll be fit to play, but you never know. Could this be a sign?

  • Comment 23, posted at 19.02.08 11:34:08 by robdylan Reply
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  • No way, look at Bryan Habana, it makes you fragile to bulk up on a “Bulls diet”… 😯

  • Comment 24, posted at 19.02.08 11:36:28 by Charlie Reply

  • Did AJ hurt himself with the walking stick 😈 or was he distracted by a jogging joga instructor ❓

  • Comment 25, posted at 19.02.08 11:38:14 by Charlie Reply

  • Maybe he was admiring someones linen suit.

  • Comment 26, posted at 19.02.08 11:44:31 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • apparently, he cut his leg on a piece of sugarcane, or something…

    Hope he didn’t bleed on his white linen pant!

  • Comment 27, posted at 19.02.08 11:46:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • Did AJ hurt himself with the walking stick

    Oh no… not another geriatric chirp 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 19.02.08 11:47:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • 🙄 🙄 🙄

  • Comment 29, posted at 19.02.08 11:52:21 by Charlie Reply

  • Rob you have to look at the way the loosies play. I myself is a big supporter of Kankowski but he is the kind of old school nr8 (maybe thats why I rate him). You need two players playing to the ball and to slow it down to get that free kick. Schalk havent played a goodie on saturday but Francois Louw was good.

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.02.08 11:55:28 by PaarlBok Reply

  • Paarl – the more I watch rugby, the less I feel I REALLY understand about loose forward play. Kind of ironic, since I spent my last two seasons playing blind side flank (admittedly for the PBHS 6th team!)

    One thing is for sure – the Jake White style loose trio is not going to work under the new laws. In fact, having a Danie Rossouw or Jacques Cronje in your loose trio is a luxury you really can’t afford anymore. Maybe AJ falls into the same category these days?

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.02.08 12:01:05 by robdylan Reply
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