With Super Round 17 concluded, the Stormers record yet another win, ugly and low on entertainment value, yet once again proven to be effective in a very cold, wet and rain-drenched Bloemfontein.
But still, securing the second consecutive Conference Cup.
It was a battle of the flyhalves and the kicking game was deployed by both teams, it was always going to be a match where you only try play some rugby in the right parts the field and capitalising on the mistakes of your opponent.
The only thing that bothers me, is the lack of intensity and unforced errors made by Stormers on the attack. Yes, it was terrible conditions, yes, it was always going to be tough, but the 10 minutes after half-time when the rain briefly stopped, we tried to make the best of that situation, but we could not breach the Cheetahs’ defence, we were camping in their the 22m area and after 10 minutes settled for the 3 pointer. It’s not like we were up against the best defence… we’re simply lacking that confidence of crossing the whitewash and I hope that this doesn’t come back to bite us.
It must also be said that Heinrich Brussow is a machine, the way he stole the ball on the ground, his general play as well as defence was outstanding. He seems pissed off being left out the Springbok squad for the England Test Series and definitely showing what he can bring to the table come the Rugby Championship. I clearly remember that big hit he put in on Rynhardt Elstadt.
Contributing factors that we couldn’t score tries, besides the weather conditions, were the fact that for the second week in a row, against the lower ranked teams, got a scrumming lesson and we were out-muscled in the breakdowns and contact situations. These were areas of the game that we dominated in previous rounds and crucial to our game-plan, so are the Stormers now starting to battle keeping up their intensity?
I think we need to start considering alternatives in our half-back pairing, or is it simply the game-plan that makes them look so ordinary? But in my opinion, we are in desperate need of a worldclass scrum half. Peter Grant had a better game and always solid off the kicking tee, but the man of the match award I would’ve given to Heinrich Brussow. After losing Handre Pollard to the Blue Bulls and Peter Grant jetting off to Japan again at the completion of the tournament where does that leave WP? Demetri Catrakilis was playing such good rugby in the Vodacom Cup, why wasn’t he even given the opportunity at Super Rugby level this year?
The Stormers now have a big couple of weeks ahead come the play-offs and have to deal with losing another loose-forward in Jebb Sinclair, who won’t be eligible to play in any of the matches. Tough ask winning the competition from here, but we have shown what we can do, I just hope we don’t need to start playing catch-up rugby.
A big thanks to the Crusaders for doing us a favour against the Chiefs and thanks to the Sharks for smashing the Bulls in an awesome display of attacking rugby. These results making it 7 from 7 for my Superbru