Time to shine, Lionel

Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Stormers on 29 Apr 2011 at 09:13
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‘There is no fate but what we make.’ Cheesy I know, but this famous movie line might just be the best description of what the future holds for young Lionel Cronje.

I have possibly wasted too many inches of column space in the past questioning the management of Lionel Cronje especially since most of us has yet to see him produce the type of performances many of his fans believe he is capable of. Of what there is no doubt however, is that this young man now has the opportunity to vindicate not only himself, but those who support him.

Cronje was brought to the Cape with a big hooraa by Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, in 2009 as a promising young star who made a name for himself in the SA U/20 team. Such was his promise that the union and their coaches even compared him to Francois Steyn at the time.

This fairytale would be short-lived however as Cronje became involved in a bar brawl in 2010 which saw him being internally disciplined by the team and management resulting in his exclusion from the Super rugby squad of that year.

Given the Stormers and Western Province’s success in 2010 with Peter Grant and Willem de Waal occupying the number 10 jersey for the whole year, and young Gary van Aswegen guiding the U/21 team to Currie Cup success, the star of Lionel Cronje faded very fast.

Given little chance to show his ability at flyhalf and the persistent rumours that he is not much of a team-man, Lionel was heading down a very dark road.

With Willem de Waal heading off to Italy in late 2010 and Grant stuck in Japan well into the 2011 season, Cronje was offered a glimmer of hope. Surprisingly however, Coetzee seemed to favour new (Boland) recruit Elgar Watts and now senior player, Gary van Aswegen in the flyhalf position during the pre-season games.

Cronje seemed destined to play out 2011 much as he finished 2010 in the WP Vodacom Cup side.

‘Fate’ however, has now given Cronje the one break he so desperately need.

Prior to the Lions game the Stormers’ first choice pivot, Peter Grant, sustained a knee injury in training and unsurprisingly, Allister Coetzee called up Gary van Aswegen to the senior team with Lionel Cronje promoted to the bench. Minutes into the Lions game however, Van Aswegen also sustained an injury which will keep him sidelined for the best part of a month and from no-where, Lionel found himself in the pound seat.

This week, in what promises to be one of the most crucial matches for the Cape franchise to determine who will end up conference winners, Cronje might just get the chance to finally show everyone what he is made of.

Peter Grant has been bracketed in the Stormers team-sheet as a possible starter with Coetzee giving him until the very last minute to prove his fitness, but it is highly unlikely he will take the field.

In life, one rarely gets a second bite at the cherry or to correct the wrongs of the past, but for Cronje, fate seemed to have played a hand in which he now has just that.

Will his star shine again? Well, I believe that if that is going to be the case, he only has one shot at this, but one shot is all great players need.


  • Where is Elgar Watts?

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.04.11 09:25:12 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Thanks for a good read Morne.

    What did you think of his performance against the Lions??

    I thought he did very well and I hope he builds on that performance when he faces the overrated Sharks tomorrow!! 😈

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.04.11 09:25:53 by wpw Reply
  • @Ben (Comment 1) :

    He is playing club rugby in Boland and is contracted to that union.

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.04.11 09:30:00 by wpw Reply
  • @Ben (Comment 1) :


    @wpw (Comment 2) :

    I only caught moments of that match as I was on a farm that weekend.

    Many people rate this lad highly, I have not seen enough of him, so I will reserve judgment until at least tomorrow night.

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.04.11 09:30:25 by Morné Reply
  • @wpw (Comment 3) : I know but thought he might be injured or something, why has he fell out of the contention for flyhalf?

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.04.11 09:33:10 by Ben Reply
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  • Good luck Lionel, I’m really excited to see what he can bring. Hope he takes the opportunity with both hands.

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.04.11 09:33:59 by molly Reply
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  • @wpw (comment 2) ”Over rated Sharks”. Pwah.Sniff.Watch em go. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.04.11 09:39:51 by Caratacus Reply

  • Important role to play on saturday and have full confidense in him. Make or break stuff.

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.04.11 09:41:11 by PaarlBok Reply

  • He’s proven he can kick for posts just fine with his performances in the vodacom cup, he must be quite high up on the top point scorer list.

    And as an option to cover fullback as well, can’t understand why he hasn’t been given more chances.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.04.11 09:45:49 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 9) :

    He is the top points scorer in the Vodacom Cup by some margin (95 points, second placed player is on 75).

    He is also joint top try-scorer, 4 tries.

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.04.11 09:48:36 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 10) : yuss… He is impressive. Really holding thumbs he does well.

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.04.11 09:53:11 by molly Reply
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  • hey… looks like Morne is trying to turn this place into Stormersworld 🙂

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.04.11 10:29:44 by robdylan Reply
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  • Cronje is ok, but he’s no Pat Lambie :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.04.11 10:30:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : I love Mollie!

    Lampie surely the measure stick, Lionel cant ask for more.

  • Comment 14, posted at 29.04.11 10:38:07 by PaarlBok Reply

  • From what I have seen of him, he reminds me a bit of a young Gaffie – big, quick, good hands and a decent sidestep as well.

    I hope he makes the step up – he could well serve the Boks if he ever reaches the heights he seemed capable of as a junior.

    Sad thing is, junior rugby success is no guarantee of senior success – ask Jorrie Muller, Ismael Dollie, Hilton Lobberts, Thabang Molefe and a host of others.

    I’m still not sure if that is just the nature of senior rugby, or an indictment of players, coaches or both.

  • Comment 15, posted at 29.04.11 11:15:16 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Comment 15) : Thabang Molefe… what a legend. You see him play for the Griffons against EP?

  • Comment 16, posted at 29.04.11 11:31:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • It’s been confirmed, Grant is out, Lionel will start.

  • Comment 17, posted at 29.04.11 12:00:34 by Morné Reply
  • I think what makes a great(young) player isn’t just his playing ability but also how he handles pressure.

    I might be wrong but I recall Cronje coming on as a replacement against the Sharks(I can’t remember which game) and he had an absolute shocker knocking the ball behind his own touchline and another couple of handling mistakes….correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Comment 18, posted at 29.04.11 12:05:50 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 18) : I think you are correct, don’t think it was the sharks though, and think the game was already sewn up when he tried to swing a 50/50 pass that got picked up by someone else to score a try. It was the currie cup I think.

  • Comment 19, posted at 29.04.11 12:17:17 by molly Reply
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  • It will be interesting to see how Cronje acquits himself tomorrow, not just with his place kicking, but in that all-important flyhalf channel…
    More to the point, it will be VERY interesting to see how the Stormers cope coming off the bye without Grant there to muster the troops…

  • Comment 20, posted at 29.04.11 15:55:43 by SharonvanWyk Reply
  • Aaarrgghhhh, Ive just heard that Jaco Peyper is reffing tomorrows game, this is not good. 😐

  • Comment 21, posted at 29.04.11 16:56:28 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Thanks for admitting that Sammy. I don’t rate him either! 😉

  • Comment 22, posted at 29.04.11 17:35:29 by wpw Reply
  • Such was his promise that the union and their coaches even compared him to Francois Steyn at the time.

    But that is just par for the course down in the cape. 😛

  • Comment 23, posted at 29.04.11 18:30:06 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©

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