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by djp

Stormers’ unfinished business lies past this semi final

June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

The biggest match (so far) of the Stormers 2011 season is fast approaching and already more clichés are given out than politicians’ t-shirts before a huge election: It’s must win game; Do or die; Win or go home.. Well that last one doesn’t really work with the Stormers now does it? I mean even if they lose, they’re at home already. And if they win & the Reds lose, they’ll host the Super rugby final.. But more on that later.

 

Experts are saying that the Stormers should, must, have to win this game coz they’re playing at home, they had a week off, the Saders traveled 1000’s of kms, they’re the only SA side left, a RWC yardstick etc. etc… But not once have I heard that they should, must, have to win coz of what they’ve achieved last year. Yes, last year!!! The year we lost to the Bulls in the final and to the Sharks in the CC final..

 

I wrote a blog earlier this year where I said that the Stormers will have to show their critics that last year was no fluke: http://blogs.sport24.co.za/djp/this-could-be-a-tough-year-ahead-for-the-stormers-wp and even though we’re might be on the right path, we haven’t silenced our critics, yet. Maybe we set the bar a bit too high last season coz if you take our 2010 season into account, only a Super rugby title will define this season as an improvement or a success.  The Reds are a prime example of a team on the rise coz they just missed out on a semi final spot last season but everyone could see that this team was gonna be a lot of trouble for sides come the 2011 season and now they’ve got a home semifinal (and potentially a home final lying in wait for them). 


When we lost to the Bulls last season, I was upset (obviously) but when the dust & the Bulls fans’ smug settled (wishful thinking on that last one) I was somewhat satisfied with what we’ve achieved. This season, the Stormers won’t be that lucky. I will be angry and upset for a mighty long time if we don’t win the title this season, let alone this upcoming semi final against Super rugby’s most successful side. It’s a big ask, I know.. But it should be a big ask coz it’s Super rugby knockout stages for peeeeeps sake!!!!

 

However, when comparing the Stormers’ main team stats of this season to last season, it gives me a bit mixed-bag when it comes to being satisfied. Because even though we’ve conceded more points on average as well as scored less points on average than we did last season, we improved our winning percentage with 6% and also managed to miraculously reduce our try-conceded-per-game average from 1.3 to 1.1.

 

 

Up Jou Stormers!!!!!

 

 

2010

2011

Winning percentage

69%

75%

Average points for per game

28.0

25.0

Average points against per game

13.1

16.0

Average tries scored per game

2.7

2.0

Average tries conceded per game

1.3

1.1

 

Former All Black Murray Mexted said a couple of things this week though that made me scratch my head:

“The Stormers are an excellent team, I rate them and I picked them as finalists halfway through the season. But their emphasis on defence influences their mindset too much and limits their attack. You can see it by the number of tries they’ve scored,”

 

He then continues:

“The Crusaders have been the best all-round team, they are strong across the board – up front and out wide. And they play fully to the new law interpretations, which encourage a team to keep possession and exploit whatever space is available,”

 

So lemme get this right Murray: You’re saying it would be better for the Stormers to move away from their biggest strength by defending less and concentrate on attacking more against a team that’s better in attacking than us in the first place??? This, in the knockout stages?? Uhmm, please pass me some of that pot you’re smoking.. coz it looks like it’s some good shit.. 

 

STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW STORMERS, TO WHAT GOT YOU TO HOST A SEMI-FINAL FOR 2ND STRAIGHT SEASON!!!!!

 

 

And to you South Africans who supports the Crusaders, Shame on you!!! No, wait, lemme rephrase that: TO YOU SOUTH AFRICANS WHO SUPPORTS THE CRUSADERS COZ OF YOUR HATE FOR THE RULING GOVERNMENT & THEIR POLICIES SOME 17 – 35 YEARS AGO, SHAME ON YOU!!!  If you support the Saders coz you love the way they play or you love the way McCaw & Dan Carter play or you’re just inlove with Dan or you love the color red (or gray), I’m cool with that but knowing some people support them coz of the caps reason above, just makes me sick..

 

For obvious reasons, I’m gonna say goodluck to the Blues and then to the Stormers: Still 2 wins to go boys!!! Go out there and make yourself and your fans very proud!! UP JOU STOMERS!!!

 

I’m outy

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Rugby written all over it..

June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 I’ve got too much on my mind just to talk about one subject or issue like I usually do in my blogs so I decided to do the ask & answer thing.

 

Can the Sharks do it??

 

Well the Stormers coach Alistair Coetzee believes so:

When it was pointed out to him that his team would more than likely be facing the Crusaders, Coetzee disagreed.“We can assume that, who says that will be the case?” asked Coetzee.“Yes, the Sharks have the disadvantage of having to travel a long way to play their qualifying match, but I was really impressed with the way they played against the Bulls this past weekend. It was an outstanding effort from them and they really played well. If they play like that against the Crusaders they can definitely win. They are picking up momentum at the right time.”

And so did Stormers forwards coach Matt Proudfoot:

http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Super15/Proudfoot-Sharks-can-do-it-20110621

 

I honestly cant remember the last time the Crusaders lost “at home” or even worse (for the Sharks) lost “at home” against a South African side. Throw in the fact that it’s a playoff game, you’ll suddenly see the mammoth task that lies & wait for the side from Durbs. As a South African, I would love nothing more than seeing one of our teams upset NZ’s trophy side and if they play the way they did against the Bulls (thx for that by the way) they certainly can beat them.. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening.. and I base that on the Crusaders record of playing at home. Sharks, I sincerely hope you prove me wrong!!!

 

Butch the starting 10?

 

I read a rugby article the other day on the Supersport website that Butch is the front runner for the Bok nr. 10 jesery and the columnist stated just so nonchalantly that James did play flyhalf for the Boks during the 2007 RWC. Dude, that was 4 years ago!!! I’m not Morne Steyn’s biggest fan but considering the Boks game plan – using their forwards more than their backs, kicking for the corners & capitalizing on the opposition’s mistakes and kick & chase – he does fit in perfectly with that style of play. Steyn has also been with the Boks for a couple of years now & lets not forgot about his successful marriage with Fourie du Preez so he’s got experience too. Butch obviously got influential “friends” in the Bok hierarchy & has the backing of the senior bok players & granted, he showed during Super 15 that he’s still a good player but starting Bok?? I’m not so sure..

 

Can we give a special thanks to Jake White please?

 

Last year Jake made a couple of enemies with some of the public when he said that he wants to come back as Bok coach & lead them to the RWC and I was one them and my reason was simple: SARU asked him to stay on and he said no, so we gave P-Divvy a shot and his shot in my books is still valid up until the end of the Boks RWC campaign. BUT with the omission of one Peter Grant, I have to say thanks to Jake for making this guy a bok during his run as Bok coach!!! So, thanx Jake!!! I still believe that Bash should be in Bok 30 that leaves for NZ in September or atleast in the Tri nations squad.

 

Can Lambie be South Africa’s version of Dan Carter OR a younger version of Pienaar & Steyn??

 

How many of you noticed that Lambie didn’t really suffer from “second season blues” like most rookie sensations do in their second season? I mean Elton Jantjes definitely suffered them but Lambie? Not so much. Yes he did he have some dips but most of those games played were just after he came back from injury. I remember watching Dan Carter during the 2003 RWC and how he showed at a young age that he was ready for big boys. Then NZ coach, John Mitchell didn’t feel that way and rather opted to go with King Carlos in that semi-final loss against Australia. Who knows what could’ve happened had DC played. Lambie has shown time and time again during the Super rugby season that he too is ready for the big boys and I think he MUST be thrown into Tri nations pool and see if he’ll sink or swim. On the other hand Darren…

 

Even though he predominantly played 10 for the Sharks this season, he showed on Saturday that he can be just as effective (if not better) at 15, a blessing and curse both Ruan Pienaar & Francois Steyn had during their tenure in Durban. Throw in the fact that Lambie’s no slouch at 12 either and what you’ll get is ‘n uitgeknipte Styen like the Afrikaners would say. Steyn was very lucky that he was a RWC & Tri nations winner as well as the owner of a multi-million rand contract before he learnt how to shave and the Lamborghini looks like he’ll also be driving down that road. But to avoid “wasting” 2 or 3 years of the youngster’s career, I think coaches should let him settle in at 10 and keep him there coz this guy has the potential to make Carter his bitch come RWC 2015!!

 

Lose one game and you’re out??

 

While watching the Stormers clubber the Cheetahs, I flipped channels to see how the Baby Boks were doing against England and if I knew that was the last time I was gonna see them play, I would’ve paid more attention. The IRB really messed up when organizing that event coz how can a world cup not have at least a quarter final?? Maybe I’m just a grumpy fan coz my team got knocked out but I know I’m not alone… 

 

And the winner is??

 

Last week Friday night, a Blue Bull friend of mine predicted that they will win the Super 15. I can’t remember how he got there but it involved beating the Sharks by 90 points, the Brumbies beating the Tahs in their last round robin game and then the Bulls eventually beating the Stormers in the final at Newlands.

 

The guy has been avoiding and ignoring me like I’m a Jehovah’s witness ever since.

 

Now I wont go so far as to predict a winner coz I really cant think who will this competition considering the following:

 

-          The Crusaders are still in there: Should they make semis & considering their pedigree, they will be among the favorites to     win the competition

-          The Blues are still the Blues!! In the famous words of Forest Gump: You never know what you’re gonna get..

-          When last did the Reds feature in the playoffs: They might have finished on top the log but playoffs is a whole ‘nother beast. Will they have the BMT to be successful in the knockouts??

-          No Pressure on the Tahs: Correct me if I’m wrong but: If they beat the Blues away, they’ll then have to beat either the Stormers or Reds away too and even if do beat the former, they’ll play either the Reds or Saders away in the finals (unless they play against Sharks in the finals)

-          Toughest game up first for the Sharks: I think if the Sharks beat the Saders, the Reds will be nervous and so they should be if you take point 3 into consideration. Unfortunately for the Durbanites, they won’t be playing any of their games at home but what a story would be that should they be able to win 3 in a row ey??

 

Enjoy the knockouts guys!!!!

 

I’m outy

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by djp

Time for the Big One!!!

June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Neutral rugby fans couldn’t have asked for a better time for SA’s rugby giants the Stormers and the Bulls to meet up this coming weekend in Cape Town. Both teams are on bit of a winning streak and I for one can’t really say which one of the two has been looking better.

 

The Bulls haven’t lost a game since that.. that.. uhm.. high school rugby they played against the Force in Perth in mid-April. But after that and week-by-week, they started looking like the Bulls of old again: Forwards dominating their opponents upfront, Steyn doing what he does best and all-in-all it looks like the BMT in the Bulls is back too as evident with wins against the Sharks (IN DURBS) and the Cheetahs.

 

One can say that after their Saders’ defeat at Newlands the Stormers started their overseas tour almost perfectly. I mean how else would you define having a 19-3 half time lead against the Chiefs in NZ?? But we all know what happened then: The Stormers gave us their version of Protea cricket BMT & the Chiefs finished the game as the winners. But the big game of the tour was always going to be against the NZ conference leading Blues & man what a win that was!! I duno bout you other Stormers’ fans, but I immediately forgave them for that poor half against the Chiefs after THAT win. The next two games, even though played against 2 teams we shouldve (and did) beat, were still 2 games being played in Australia and both at venues we haven’t won a game yet (yes I’m aware this is the Rebels first season in Super rugby but still..)

 

And here we are: The big one!! The one that puts the D in derby!! North vs South!! Passion vs Effectiveness!! And no clear favorite!! The weird thing about this year’s Super rugby campaign is that teams have shown us that they can win almost anywhere. The Cheetahs did it with the Tahs in Sydney, Lions did with the Brumbies AND Highlanders. And here in SA, the Stormers did it against the Bulls and the Sharks, Bulls did against the Sharks & the Cheetahs and the Sharks did it against the Cheetahs. I must say that of SA’s top 3 teams, the Stormers’ 2 big scalps do look the more impressive but my point is that any team CAN win anywhere.

 

Both teams might also be without some their key players but this is where the Bulls overshadow their rivals from the Cape. They lose du Preez, oh well, put in Hougaard. Bakkies not available? Roep vir oom Danie!! The Stormers on the other hand will be praying to the rugby gods that Grant & Duvenage will be fit to make the game. Coleman is from my home town and I’m very proud that he’s representing but Bash is still my nr.1 pivot and if fit, he must start. But by the look of things, the Stormers are going to sit Grant out – jeez man, we’ve really got hit below the belt this season when it comes to flyhalfs.

 

It will be interesting to see who the “rugby experts” pick to win this game. I remember reading some of the predictions “they” made for the Stormers-Sharks game that was played in Cape Town and most of them either didn’t want to call it or tipped the Sharks to win and their reason: Grant wasn’t playing. http://blogs.sport24.co.za/djp/shame-on-the-rugby-experts

Well, we all know what happened then. I’m sure that the Bulls camp will say all the right things in the media when it comes to potentially playing the Stormers without their nr.1 flyhalf. Things like: The Stormers will protect Coleman, that they’re still playing in Cape Town against the conference leader. One guy doesn’t make a team etc, etc.. But I have no doubt that they’ll be licking their lips to have a go against Knysna’s young rugby star.

 

This is gonna be my second game I’m gonna watch @ the home of South African rugby and I have no doubt that the game will not fail to live up to the hype. Some might think this game is more important to win for the Bulls but I beg to differ. I think both teams need to win this but obviously for different reasons: The Bulls to stay in the top 6 and the Stormers to stay in the top 2. It’s gonna be a humdinger ladies and gentlemen so gimme your predictions why don’t you??

 

Enjoy the spectacle rugga fans!!!

 

I’m outy