KSA Shark ©

Blues could have Stormers in their sights

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Stormers, Super 14 on 24 Feb 2009 at 07:39
Tagged with : ,

It would have been with mixed feelings that the Stormers players and coaching staff spent their Saturday afternoon off watching the television coverage of the Bulls annihilating the Blues in their Super 14 match in Pretoria.

While the Bulls showed that the Blues are definitely beatable and that the Stormers should start as favourites when they face the Blues in Cape Town on Saturday evening, the New Zealand team is also going to be significantly strengthened by the return of some key players. And they will also be smarting after their big defeat.

Gavin Rich writes in the Cape Argus that an even bigger problem though for the Stormers is the form of the Bulls. It is great to see another South African team doing so well, and the ease with which they smashed the Blues should provide encouragement for the looming battles with the New Zealand teams, but the Bulls will be the Stormers’ next opponents – at Loftus on Saturday week.

The Stormers, after losing at home to the Sharks, need to recover that loss by winning away from home. On the weekend’s evidence, a significant improvement is going to be needed if the Stormers can even dream about beating their traditional Pretoria rivals.

A week ago there appeared to be a faint glimmer of hope for the Stormers in that Victor Matfield will almost certainly be ruled out of the game – but it was not as if the Bulls appeared to miss Matfield against the Blues. At least they didn’t miss him in his onfield role, for he was sitting on the sidelines and offering leadership from there.

Whichever way you look at it, the Bulls result further ups the ante for the Stormers in a Blues game that was already going to be crucial to their Super 14 hopes. The narrow victory over the Reds, which was more comprehensive than the scoreline might suggest, has eased some of the pressure on the Stormers, but they need to follow up before they head into a two week sequence of local derbies against the Bulls and Lions (Newlands).

With this in mind, skipper Jean de Villiers was not prepared to look too far ahead when asked about the challenge that lies in wait in form of a difficult five match tour which includes two flights across the Tasman Sea from the middle of March.

“The tour is going to be an exciting challenge and fortunately we have a team that does enjoy touring and we have a good record away from home, but we are not going to be in contention in this competition if we don’t play well in the remaining games in South Africa over the next few weeks,” said De Villiers.

That is the reality, and after the encouragement offered last year, it won’t do for the Cape public to go back now to the pattern of previous seasons, where Easter arrived with the Stormers out of the competition race.

One ominous sign for the Stormers is that there were indications in the 59-26 Blues defeat to the Bulls that the Kiwis might all along have been targeting the Stormers match as the big one of their South African tour.

Blues coach Pat Lam made some strange selection changes for the Bulls match, where he did not conform to the usual trend of sticking with a winning combination after the victory against the Western Force.

All Black prop Tony Woodcock should be expected to return to the starting team after being benched at Loftus, while the excellent Jerome Kaino should add further substance to the pack.

Kaino, like the massive scrumhalf Taniela Moa, is back with the team after sitting out at Loftus after returning to New Zealand from Perth to be at the birth of their children. All Black wing Joe Rococoko is also expected to return, which should off-set the loss of the suspended Rene Ranger.

For the Stormers, the good news is that there are no injury problems, and Sireli Naqelevuki did make a difference when he returned to the team against the Reds.

But coach Rassie Erasmus again lamented his team’s tendency to play too much rugby in their own half, but at least this aspect was an improvement on the Sharks game.

The real problem for the Stormers may be that they are trying to do everything at 100 miles an hour. A short study of the videos of last season’s games should be enough to convince them that there isn’t any need to be quite so frenetic.


  • the blues only need to hold the stormers out for 60 minutes then they should have the victory. stormers can only play 60 minutes of rugby.

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.02.09 07:55:37 by try time Reply
  • I’m very nervous about this game.

    I think we gonna lose if we play as badly as we did against the Reds.

    We need to improve our competing at the breakdown and Burger needs to come to the party big time. 😕

    He has been poor since our first game against the Sharks.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.02.09 08:03:57 by wpw Reply
  • Stormers head coach Rassie Erasmus says that he was relieved that his side notched up their first win of the season, coming two games earlier than last year, but knows that much more is expected of the Cape franchise and also blamed himself for the alarming change in momentum in the latter stages of the match.

    “We were awful the last 20 minutes,” Erasmus admitted to SARugby.com. “We’ll have to take that on the chin and work on that.”

    The Stormers were 27-5 up in the second half and had a good deal of time to bury the Reds and in the process secure the all important bonus point, but that was not to be as they instead conceded 19 unanswered points in the latter stages of the encounter.

    “To be honest we did go for the disco pass too many times when we could have rather set up another ruck or two,” the coach said.

    “At 27-5 we needed one more try and I will also point the finger at myself as I made some substitutions and maybe thought the game was already in the bag.”

    Erasmus however, refused to list a number of excuses and said that his side was simply not good enough on the day to put away a tenacious Reds side.

    “We were just not good enough to make the last pass stick,” he told SARugby.com. “It wasn’t bad luck; we just weren’t good enough to put them away. We must work on that so the next time we are good enough. It’s as simple as that.”

    Erasmus says that he and the players will take this too close-for-comfort win – that felt like a loss – on the chin and look to learn from the mistakes they made.

    “You don’t just score tries by being fancy all the time. We’ll work on that and be honest at the video session and try and correct that.

    “The negative is that we didn’t finish off our opportunities, but the positive is that we created them. We can either shake our heads and say we weren’t good enough or we can go back and correct it.”

    Erasmus and the Stormers will no doubt choose the latter.

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.02.09 08:11:22 by wpw Reply
  • Can someone please tell me what is a ‘disco pass’ 🙄

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.02.09 08:12:19 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 4) :

    I think it is when Rassie has more than one coloured light flashing and the player has no clue what to do.

    The player then makes like he is on the dancefloor and then somewhere in the dance move he releases the ball hoping it goes to hand.

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.02.09 08:15:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 5) :

    On another note, I think Claytie will be mighty proud of Lukas’ ‘running style’ during Saturday’s match. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.02.09 08:34:15 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 6) : i don’t know why the opposition don’t wave bok flags when puke plays. he’ll be so busy gagging he won’t focus on the game.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.02.09 08:44:36 by try time Reply

  • @wpw (Comment 2) : Burger, moes nooit sy hare gesny het nie, my broe 🙄

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.02.09 08:49:20 by Charlie Reply

  • @Charlie (Comment 8) : ja its like samson and delilah. except he is delilah.

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.02.09 08:54:54 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 7) :

    I’m not sure if I should take any of your comments seriously. lol

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.02.09 09:06:50 by wpw Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 10) : ha ha you are learning.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.02.09 09:12:06 by try time Reply


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