Very interesting that the ‘pasella’ team from two years back are now suddenly starting to win matches. Two in a row against the two bettter performing franchises of the last two years. Yes it’s early season victories and the S15 is not won or lost in February but they are clearly a team with a lot more passion and desire to do well than before 2013.
Why did they need to get sacked from the tournament before they stepped-up, is the thing that bugs me? Not only do they look strong (gym trained) and hard but there is also a urgengency in their play. They are putting their bodies on the line for team and victory; something that was missing in previous years. John Mitchell said there was a culture of softness in the Lions camp when he started to work with them. Now suddenly that softness seems to have evaporated. There is a new culture of ‘in-your-face’ I’ll show you what I can do, in that camp now.
In contrast the Stormers dished up the same old ‘shyte’ of the last 3 to 5 years. Defence orientated game plan with no imagination and no ability to built tries. The lesson from the Lions seems to be; pluck them out of their comfort zone.
The recipe with the Lions was sack the coaching staff and dump them out of the competition. You might argue that they (the Stormers) haven’t walked away with the wooden spoon for 5 seasons in a row like the Lions and therefore do not deserve that harsh treatment, yet.
That might be true in terms of the log points but in terms of amount of tries scored in the last 5 seasons they came very close to last (I haven’t really checked the stats and they might have scored a bit more than I remember).
Irrespective of whether they ended up in the last 5 -in terms of tries scored- if I have, to be honest, real difficulty watching Stormers games lately (last 5 years). It’s dull rugby. I don’t really like the Aussie and Wales style ‘flap flap’ rugby. So I am not suggesting they should play a run-at-all-cost game plan. All I want is evidence of constructive rugby where you can see the team are building tries and have some innovative starter moves at the right time.
Something need to be done with Stormers rugby and my vote is start by getting rid of the current stale and one dimentional thinking coaching staff. If that doesn’t help drop them a level for a year or two (out of the S15) until they prove that they want to play in the competition. While out of the S15 get rid of some of the senior players; bring some new blood in (like they did at the Lions) and give them a challenge to win back their S15 status. Personally, I believe that new coaches with new ideas will sovle the Stormers problem of predictability. Opponents have figured out how to play them and a new approach is needed to solve the problem as the current bunch seems unable to revamp themselves. Just look what a new coach with new ideas did to the sevens team.
Harsh sentiments maybe but what makes them better than the Lions? Why can the Lions be treated like that and the Stormers not? Ultimately it is not where they end-up on the log that matters, for me, it’s about the quality of the rugby that they are playing. I as a Western Province supporter since I can remember has been treating them like a brother in jail over the last 5 seasons.
I want my team back and are to be frank ‘gatvol’ for the type of rugby I’ve seen from this bunch since 2009.