As per my comment in the live thread, not a great game, but according to both coaches a good day at the office, and preparations for the Start of the Super 15 well on track.
The Cheetahs gave an all round good performance, solid in defence, strong in the loose, and also solid at the scrum. Brussouw was nothing less than….well, Brusssouw. Sharp at the breakdown, and a real thorn in the side for the Stormers. Afterwards, without naming him directly AC felt that some of the play was cynical, Drotske felt he expected nothing less. Questions were put to AC about the lack of a fetching department, these, however were pooh poohed, and he was happy with how the Stormers trio performed in this regard. Adriaan Strauss had a very solid game too, both on defence and in taking the ball up. He put in some big hits, and his line out throwing spot on. Drotske singled out a few young players, namely Jansen, van Zyl, Willie Le Roux (on in the second half) and Goosen, who he felt have come through well and are making the step up well. He did feel that Sias Ebersohn directed th traffic better though when he came on, and made better use of the tactical kicking – Cheetahs would have come away with another try and a bigger score had the boys out wide not butchered a brilliant chip by Sias across field to the corner in the dying moments.
Drotske feels that he has the most depth at centre, wing and loose forward. He says that he has much more pace to work with this year, and all round a better team than last year – praise indeed from your coach.
It must be noted that this was pretty close to their run on side though, and although solid in defence and at the break down, the Stormers, with their very inexperienced side did manage to get over the gain line on numerous occasions, and with a better team, this wouldn’t have gone unpunished. The Cheetahs still have some work to do, but overall, Cheetah4eva and Loosehead, time to get excited!
Just to finish with the Cheetahs, Naka was asked the question about the Kings and next year, his reply was that The Kings are the only ones certain of a place next year, and as the rest of the unions don’t know what the criteria are for staying in the competition next year, they just have to stick to their own game plan, and hope for the best. This is an added pressure on all the SA Unions, and one, I feel, is completely unwarranted. SARU needs to gets their ducks in a row, and explain the future of the competition, because it is just an added worry to all the unions concerned.
The Stormers played a very different game plan to the Cheetahs. Where the Cheetahs, according to AC, were determined to win this from the outset, and kicked anything that came their way, the Stormers threw the ball around a lot more. There were some good strong, and some sniping runs, but nothing was finished off. Knock on’s, poor chips, poor passes, lack of ball protection on the ground, and of course Brussouw meant that the end of almost every move ended in the Stormers being shunted back up the field through a Goosen super torpedo. The Stormers defence was it’s usual robust self, the Cheetahs managing to break the line just once through a nifty back pass to Jansen to score under the posts. JP du Plessis was strong in the centre, with some good hits on his more experienced opposition, and Marcel Brache broke a couple of times. Groom had an excellent game behind the pack before being replaced by Conradie in the second half, and his passing was fast, crisp and true. He made a couple of sniping breaks, and put in a couple of big tackles to boot. Catrakilis had a reasonable day out, missed a couple of kicks and a couple of poor decisions at time are all, however, part of the learning curve. Van den Heever tried hard, missed a couple of high balls, and was found out of position at times, but if F/back is to be his position, he should do well with time.
In the scrum, Fourie and Burger continued from where they left off last year, Elstadt was on for 20 minutes before being pulled, and looked good for his first appearance since last years Super 14 injury. Carr was awesome, and this boy has a future – my MOM, took the ball up well, broke, and was strong in a couple of tackles, competed well and again solid in defence.
From AC’s view point, he was unhappy at losing the match, “you never go out to lose”. He felt there were clearly some players who haven’t made the step up yet, but all in all felt he got more answers this week than last. He has a much better idea of which players will be cut. He used the Boland and this game as matches targeted for the “second stringers” and last weeks and next weeks for the strongest run on sides. Next week he will have the services of Vermeulen, Bekker, and possibly Dewaldt Duvenage too who will be in full training too – Yay, a full squad, at last!
The breakdown, he felt was better – I didn’t see that, and the scrums too, he felt were fine – I missed that one too! He’s not too worried about the lack of depth at flyhalf, but felt it was time for some of the youngsters to step up.
The scrum, as we all knew, was a serious problem, and a number of free kicks were given away. This must be the biggest concern for the Stormers, and one which I just don’t know how will be rectified. But miracles do occur, and I must just hope that one happens in the depths of the front row within the next three weeks!
Thats it from my day out, Thanks GBS, Morne and Wentzel for all the help and support, and all that is left to say, is bring on the tourney proper!!!