KSA Shark ©

Stormers to hit the season running

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Stormers, Super 14 on 13 Dec 2008 at 13:17
Tagged with :

Rassie Erasmus’ determination not to repeat the one mistake he may have made in 2008 should see the Stormers hit the season running when the next edition of the Super 14 kicks off in February.

Gavin Rich writes in the Cape Argus that the Stormers played only one warm-up game against the Boland Cavaliers before starting their first Super 14 campaign under Erasmus, and it took place a full month before the opening game against the Bulls.

The Stormers lost narrowly to the Bulls in a game they should have won, and probably would have had they not been so rusty.

It was a game that came back to haunt them when they narrowly failed to qualify for the semi-finals, being edged into fifth place because they had an inferior points for-and-against differential to the fourth placed Hurricanes.

Next year the Stormers play two warm-up games, plus two opposed contact sessions against the Maties and UCT respectively, before their opening Super 14 match against the Sharks at Newlands on February 14.

The first of them will see Sunday rugby return to Newlands for the first time in ages, with London-based Saracens due to visit on January 25. The date was the only convenient one that could be fitted into Saracens’ schedule.

The top English club team will then play the Cavaliers in mid-week, with the match scheduled to be played either in Worcester, Robertson or somewhere on the West Coast.

This game will give Erasmus a chance to assess any additional fringe players from the Boland he may have overlooked, with the Stormers due to play their annual Wellington friendly against Boland on Saturday, January 31.

“I don’t know at the moment whether we will make both contact sessions against the university teams open or not, and at this stage I am not sure they will take the form of a match, but we do want to ensure the players have enough contact training before the Super 14 begins,” said Erasmus.

“Last year maybe I underdid the contact aspect a bit during the preparation phase.”

The Stormers play their first five matches on South African soil, and although the Stormers travelled well last year, notching an unprecedented (for a local team) 75% success rate in Australasia, Erasmus would rather not see the pressure pile up on his men before departure.

Included in that opening sequence, apart from the plum fixture against the Sharks, are tough games against the Blues (home) and the Bulls (Loftus).

The Stormers face a tough opener to their overseas tour, meeting the Crusaders in Christchurch on March 28, but Erasmus is emboldened by the knowledge the champions may be in a state of flux as they start life without Dan Carter and former coach Robbie Deans.

The Brumbies and the Waratahs, the two teams the Stormers face on the Australian leg, will also be playing with new coaches in 2009.

The five match away sequence makes the Stormers’ task this year look tougher than the 2008 schedule was, but Erasmus believes the Stormers may play better rugby when away from the pressures of Cape Town, a theory borne out by their successful tour last year.

The Stormers have been hard at work following the start of the onfield preparation phase to the new season at the start of the month. Most of the sessions have been closed to media and public, but the good news is that JD Moller is back in training and looking forward to next year.

The big loosehead was sorely missed by the Stormers after he was forced out with an injury during the home win over the Hurricanes.

With Brian Mujati now boasting international experience at tighthead, the Stormers could boast a formidable front row if Moller is fully fit.

Unfortunately Eddie Andrews has had to retire due to his injury problems, but Erasmus saw enough of Wicus Blaauw and JC Kritzinger in the Currie Cup season to do the job that may be needed from them in the Super 14.

It was no secret that Erasmus was looking at a couple of different tight forward options a couple of months ago, but with French and English salaries proving such a pull for the South African big men at the moment, experienced props and locks are not a dime a dozen, and a look at the other local squads will show it is not just the Stormers who are suffering.

Of the players to have left, the loss of Ross Skeate to France was the biggest blow.

Fortunately Deon Fourie blossomed as a replacement for Tiaan Liebenberg at hooker, so the Stormers are adequately covered in that position.

Corne Uys, injured in a pre- season friendly last year, has moved to the Cheetahs, but Sireli Naqelevuki’s switch during the Currie Cup season has added depth at outside centre.

Newcomers since the end of the Currie Cup season are Cheetahs No 8 Duane Vermeulen and former Bulls and Springbok loose-forward Hilton Lobberts.

However, with back-row being an area of huge Stormers depth, and Nick Koster promising a bright future, Lobberts is probably going to be retreaded into a lock.

Also new since the end of the 2008 Super 14 are AJ Venter, who Erasmus is still convinced has gas left in him as a lock (he was used mainly as a loose-forward in the Currie Cup), Percy Montgomery and Willem de Waal.

The last mentioned pair bring some interesting possibilities when it comes to backline and kicking options, with De Waal showing in the initial stages of the past season that he could be a vital cog on those days when conditions may call for a horses-for-courses policy.


  • is this “running” for cover or “running” to gather under the poles? 😉 🙄

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.12.08 13:18:21 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • With Brian Mujati now boasting international experience at tighthead, “the Stormers could boast a formidable front row if Moller is fully fit.”

    Um, I don’t think so….

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.12.08 13:35:22 by Baldrick Reply
  • @Baldrick (Comment 2) :

    Beast v Mujati is going to be such a pleasure to watch.

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.12.08 13:38:28 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @Baldrick (Comment 2) : why not?

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.12.08 14:35:35 by PJLD Reply
  • Cos the stormers are not ‘allowed’ to have a decent tight 5 claytie. Im gonna lmimp if we beat the sharks

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.12.08 15:48:13 by wpw Reply
  • Also think we we werent up to scratch last year when the season started. Hopefull we will wack some Tjark arse this time when the season start. We owe them big time.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.12.08 15:51:19 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 6) : i think moller fourie mujati will get the job done PB.

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.12.08 17:32:45 by PJLD Reply
  • @PJLD (Comment 4) : In my opinion, and it’s just mine, Mujati isn’t much competition for the likes of some of the better S14 teams.

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.12.08 07:24:53 by Baldrick Reply
  • I am pretty confident for 2009 for the Stormers. They only lost Liebenberg & Skeate and add experiense in Percy, AJ & de Waal and some exciting youngsters in Duanne Vermeulen & Hilton Lobberts plus a few Bokke like Jantjes, Januarie , Bekker& Mujatsi grew 100%. Also Rassie is busy with something special by getting thos 14 youngsters on board, so much more expetations from my side from them. They need to start running this time and if they can finish the first part before touring in the top lot they will be difficult to stop even in those tough tour matches.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.12.08 07:26:35 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 9) :

    On Hilton Lobberts, getting a Yellow card per game is not really good experience. 😉

    On the youngsters, in the long run it will help.

    I expect you guys to be a top 5 or 6 finisher again this year, but not much higher than that.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.12.08 07:37:36 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @Baldrick (Comment 8) :

    I think Mujati has grown a bit over the international season but still don’t think he will be able to stand up to Beast.

    Actually he is probably going to stand up at most scrums. 😉

    He will do pretty well against most of the S14 sides though.

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.12.08 07:39:31 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • OK just got the Rapport and a interesting interview with Jean de Villiers!


    It give some answers on the Luke Watson & Springbok emblem

    Een van afrigter Rassie Erasmus se eerste besluite was om Jean kaptein te maak in Luke Watson se plek. Dit was ’n geïnspireerde keuse, hoor jy: Jean het só geskitter in sy nuwe rol dat mense nou voorspel hy’s die volgende Bokkaptein, en nie Victor Matfield nie.

    Vra hom oor Luke se braak-uitlatings en Jean kry so ’n effense naar trekkie op sy gesig.

    “Ek het my eie mening daaroor. Ek weet nie of ek eintlik daaroor wil praat nie.”

    Net: “As jy sulke stellings maak, gáán jy ouens omkrap. Ek het ’n probleem daarmee as iemand dink hy kan énigiets kwytraak, en dan net sê: jis, maar ek’s ’n Christen en ek wil ’n dominee word ná rugby.”

    As daar ongelukkigheid is, sal hy as kaptein sorg dat hulle dit onder mekaar uitpraat.

    Godsdiens, erken hy, spéél ’n sterk rol by die Stormers. Hulle bid voor en ná elke wedstryd, al is daar Moslems en ’n Rastafariër in die span. Niemand het nog daaroor gekla nie, en as dit gebeur, sal hulle wel iets uitwerk.

    Oor die gewalt rondom die Bok-embleem, sê hy reguit: “Mens soek die Bokkie by jou hart.”

    Deur dit na die regterbors te verskuif, “is dit nie maar so goed hulle vat dit heeltemal weg nie? Ek weet nie of dit dieselfde sal wees om as Protea te speel nie.”

    “Dis hartseer dat ons sportspan wat die heel beste vaar, heeltyd onder druk is om sy identiteit te verander.”

    ?Hy was nog nie vyf nie, toe wou Jean al vir die Springbokke uitdraf.

    His Paarl laaitie days
    As skoollaaitie in die Paarl het hy vakansietye vroegdag afgesit na Gimmies se veld, toksak volgeprop met rugby-, krieket- en tennisgoed. Baie keer pak slae gekry as hy eers saans na sewe by die huis aankom.

    Hy lag, oopgesig, sy geesdrif aansteeklik.

    Great guy and hero for our kids!

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.12.08 08:24:43 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 12) : Top oke!

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.12.08 08:54:46 by PJLD Reply
  • Jean het só geskitter in sy nuwe rol dat mense nou voorspel hy’s die volgende Bokkaptein, en nie Victor Matfield nie.

    I am one of those “mense”, but for some reason it seems PDV is not. He has had LOTS of chance to make JDV capt and it has not happened. 😥

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.12.08 09:00:40 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I thought Queen Victoria was retiring from international rugby after the Lions series.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.12.08 10:18:19 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 15) :

    We can only hope.

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.12.08 10:37:25 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) : Pretty sure Jean & Snor have a very good relationship. They share a surname. 😉

    Jean played as capt from 7 year old and not a new role for him.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.12.08 12:09:20 by PaarlBok Reply
  • @PaarlBok (Comment 17) :

    If Only PDV would make JDV the stand in Captain when John goes off or doesn’t play i will be a happy puppy.

    But he always sticks with that top notch guy from the Bulls.

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.12.08 12:49:30 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.