Stormers set the early pace

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 27 Feb 2017 at 10:14
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

It was a mixed bag, results-wise, for the six South African franchise teams in Super Rugby’s opening weekend. The Stormers, though, were arguably the pick of the bunch with their big win against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday evening.

It’s always tough to pick winners in the first round, without form to guide you and the two local derbies, in particular, didn’t exactly go to script. The weekend started, though, with the Sharks losing narrowly to the Reds in Brisbane on Friday morning having led for most of the game after an early Jean-Luc du Preez try. Opinion is divided as to the result, with some fans prepared to accept a close loss against a stronger team away from home (on paper, at least), with others bemoaning the individual mistakes and often dodgy tactics that turned what could have been a good win into an agonising loss. One thing that is evident to both camps, though, is that the Sharks are off the pace even at this early stage and have plenty of work to do in order to deliver the good needed to succeed in this competition – particularly on attack.

The Cheetahs-Lions encounter in Bloemfontein ended up a far closer affair than many would have thought, with the home side perhaps unlucky not to record an unexpected upset over the local favourites. That Johan Ackermann’s side are not (yet) the slick outfit of 2016 is clear, but it remains to be seen whether the loss of key personnel will prove significant to them as the season progresses. Certainly the loss of Julian Redelinghuys was felt, with their scrum clearly lacking its former potency. Worse still, they lost centre Howard Mnisi to a horror knee injury that must certainly spell the end of his season. The Cheetahs, on the other hand, will probably feel rather buoyant given the closeness of the result and will, I’m sure, relish the prospect of a game against another out-of-sorts team, the Bulls, this coming weekend.

The Kings got off the the sort of start that was pretty much expected, I’m afraid, losing at home to los Jaguares, despite playing at times enterprising rugby. They now face an interesting trip to Singapore to face the SunWolves and with those opponents (who never seemed to enjoy playing in Singapore last year) coming off an 80-point hammering, you’d think the Kings really must have a great opportunity to get their campaign back on track with a win there.

The big news, though, was at Newlands, where the Stormers overturned the pre-game odds and destroyed the Bulls everywhere and every time it mattered. Early days yet – and let us remind you that they will have to face five strong New Zealand teams this year – but the men from the Cape certainly looked a cut above the rest of the local teams this past weekend. In particular, they appear to have struck a good balance between a pack that can dominate both the set piece and in the loose, and a backline able and prepared to back themselves with ball in hand. They’ll rue the fact that they didn’t manage to keep the Bulls out often enough to secure a bonus point, but will want to right that wrong against the Jaguares this week. The loss of Damian de Allende – a key player – to serious ankle injury is likely to cause the coaches some headaches, however.

For the Bulls, well, there’s a lot of work ahead. Their pack was embarrassed and their backs lacked both ideas and execution. They will need to turn things around against the Cheetahs in a big way, or risk seeing their conference rivals start to take am significant lead over them on the log, even at this early stage.


  • I thought the Sharks were probably unlucky not to get a penalty try when their maul was pulled down illegally as they were storming towards the tryline. At that stage they were up 18-19.

    The best thing about the Lions game was that they kept their composure in the second half to come back with three tries. The first half was helter skelter stuff from both teams with little effect. The Cheetahs showed some great ball skills and innovation and dominated possession and territory in the first half. Good defence from both sides kept the tries out.

    The Stormers will probably not be happy that they let in 4 tries in the second half for a closer result than it should have been while the Bulls have a lot to try and fix before they take on the Cheetahs who won’t be easy to beat.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.02.17 10:24:29 by Baylion Reply
  • @Baylion (Comment 1) : I must say, I felt a great deal of frustration at the way the Reds seemed to infringe with absolute impunity every time the Sharks got into their 22. I don’t feel Briant was strong enough in this regard.

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.02.17 10:25:55 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : No room to hide in the SR. At least the opportunity to rectify arrives soon, so we will if the team is rusty or building. I am hoping for a Saders type slower build instead of the recent strong starts followed by just fading badly later in the competition.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.02.17 10:36:50 by Kabouter Reply

  • I might be completely wrong, but I do not get all the hype there is regarding Pollard, he is not a great FH, he might be a better 12 in my opnion

    well the stormes did start great and they do look like a different team this year, will they be able to keep it up when the pressure is on and going in some game getting tough? according to cape news they already in the final with the way they playing :mrgreen:

    I was so hopping for a sharks win, but that is just heart speak, as i never want the Sharks to loose one game, but that is impossible, that said I do think there is somethings we should work on, and get better execution, but under circumstance i feel that the team did not do bad, the Reds have bought a lot of expierence in the off season, and most of these guys they brough in is ex Reds player, so they fitting in easy in the team, which also makes the inclusion of new guys smoother, , if we had one more proper warm up before I’m sure the team as a whole would have been better

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.02.17 10:55:05 by HB Reply
  • My sadness towards the Sharks losing was quickly turned towards happiness when the bulls got humiliated in Cape Town,especially seeing that windgat laaitie imploding….
    I think (read hope) we will improve dramatically as the season goes on,I trust RdP enough to sort out the shortcomings.

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.02.17 11:51:53 by BarendL Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • The Stormers – cough, cough, gargle, choke – really were impressive!

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.02.17 12:38:05 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Don’t the Stormers have a Kiwi Assistant coach now? He is obviously making a difference already….

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.02.17 14:34:43 by Grasshopper Reply

  • Yes and after one game the Cape media have the Stormers winning the tournament already,I reserve judgement till I see them come up against NewZealand opposition, for the first time in two years.

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.02.17 14:44:59 by The hound Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    The hound
  • @The hound (Comment 8) : hahaha, I know. Mallett and co would pick the whole side as Boks already..

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.02.17 14:46:24 by Grasshopper Reply

  • @Grasshopper (Comment 9) : @The hound (Comment 8) : let them go and hang themselves later on…

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.02.17 15:40:16 by Kabouter Reply


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