Two from two and a bye next week for the Stormers, thats 12 points in the bag, and thats what counts. The Stormers used their ‘get out of jail free’ card this weekend, and between now and the Blues in 2 weeks, there’s a lot of work to be done.
For the Sharks it is 0 from 2 with 2 meagre bonus points.
This match was always going to be the first real test for the Stormers, with all due respect, the Hurricanes match was no more than a glorified warm up. The Sharks however, coming off a narrow defeat to the Bulls, and touted to be one of the top 2 teams in the SA conference, were keen to put their ship back on track.
For the Stormers, this was always going to be a litmus test to see how the front row and pivot had improved, or rather how they were going to be able to stand up to stronger opposition. If they passed the front row test, they barely got through on the flyhalf stakes.
Harris and Kitshoff, who have been in the press through much of the pre-season and touted as the competition’s weakest front pairing came through this match, admittedly against not the strongest front row, pretty much unscathed. The young 20 year old Kitshoff holding his own, even against Springbok Janine du Plessis, when he came on in the 57th minute. The Stormers scrum for the most part looked strong, winning all of their own put-ins as well as a tighthead. Allister Coetzee was pleased with his front rowers, and made special mention of Kitshoff as well as Malherbe who came on for Harris in the 45th minute.
John Plumtree, although happy with the first half performance, felt the scrum struggled a tad in the second, and acknowledged that this was an area that needed working on before the next match. In this match, only Marcell Coetzee came in for any praise – Plumtree feeling that along with Kolisi and Koster, this kid has a bright future in SA rugby.
The penalty count was, for Plumtree, a big concern – 4 in the first half meant that the Sharks were able to dominate both possession and territory, but the second half brought on a total of 9 (to the Stormers 1) and a yellow card to Skeate, which allowed the Stormers back into the game through the boots of Joe Pietersen and Peter Grant.
John Plumtree’s press conference was very short and sweet, happiness was something that didn’t really shine through! When the final question was about how the Sharks could turn their season around, the Kiwi dryness of last week (Hammet) again shone through in his reply, “Aaah, easy, just gotta win!”
Allister Coetzee on the other hand, was happy with the win but said that there was plenty to work on. He felt that had they played this match, with the same Stormers side 3 years ago, they would have lost, but that the maturity of the side, and the self belief that has become part of the squad, saw them through. It was a typical South African derby, where the boys scrummed well and contested well, after having being taken to a ‘dark place’ by the Sharks in the first half.
Allister Coetzee was happy with the crockets in their second game back and getting through most of the match unscathed – Vermeulen made the whole game, and Bekker made 67 minutes before being subbed (it must be said, he looked dead on his feet though). Added to this, the maturity shown by the young guns – Kitshoff, Malherbe and Kolisi, and the final kick from “The man from Japan” were the only positives he took from the match, with both he and Jean de Villiers agreeing that there was much to work on over the next week and a half.
Although both Van Aswegen and Peter Grant came in for praise from both captain and coach, my opinion is that this is an area that really is a problem for the Stormers. Van Aswegen, although learning fast and by no means having a bad game, was shown up a touch by Springbok, Pstrick Lambie at pivot, and he still has a long way to go before attaining the ranks of a Morné Steyn, Elton Jantjies, Johan Goosen or Patrick Lambie. Peter Grant will always keep the opposition honest, and give you 100% but flare and the ‘X’ factor are not really in his portfolio. The “Greek”, Demetri Catrakilis, it seems will not be making his way back into the squad after a rumored monumental row with the coach, leaving the flyhalf cupboard a little bare.
Whilst defense was still generally up to what we expect from the Stormers, there still seems to be a lot of work to do on attack. Their game plan just seems too easy for the opposition to read, with very little variation, differentiation or new moves, and at times just plain stagnant. With players like Gio Aplon, Juan de Jong, Gerhard van den Heever and even Bryan Habana, one would expect a little more flair and creativity. With Robbie Fleck at the helm of the back line, hopefully this will start coming out in the next round of matches.
If the Stormers are to continue winning, this is the area of their game that need dramatic improvement because the days of the board games are over, and there are no more ‘get out of jail cards’ left.
At the time of the press conference last night, there were no Stormers injuries to be reported.
Attendance – 40702
Match statistics courtesy of espnscrum
|0 from 0||Conversion goals||0 from 0|
|5 from 9||Penalty goals||4 from 6|
|55.6%||Kick at goal success||66.7%|
|30||Kicks from hand||27|
|291||Metres run with ball||413|
|56 from 61 (91.8%)||Rucks won||78 from 82 (95.1%)|
|0 from 0||Mauls won||0 from 0|
|91.5%||Tackling success rate||86.1%|
|7 won, 0 lost (100.0%)||Scrums on own feed||5 won, 1 lost (83.3%)|
|9 won, 1 lost (90.0%)||Lineouts on own throw||13 won, 4 lost (76.5%)|
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Paul Jordaan.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)