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As much as I hate this clichéd saying that every sports commentator has used with gay abandon since the 1980’s, where the English football hacks had run every overused idiom, including this one  into the ground, it is most apt for this game. This really was “a game of two halves”.

Lets face it, the Stormers were ‘hot to trot’, in the first half and the Cheetsahs were hopeless. In the second half, it was almost inconceivable that both teams could have a 180 degree turn-a-round. The Cheetahs were on fire, and the Stormers played some of the worst rugby I have ever seen – certainly the worst I have seen this season. The Coaches summed it up perfectly:

Drotske: “Die eerste helfte was ons wragtag swak gewees”

Coetzee: “If you want to go further in the competition, you can’t play like that”.

How two sides can turn their games around so radically over an orange and a piss break just seems too wierd. Cheetahs, for their part, though, at least turned their game in the right direction. Just a shame that they allowed the Stormers to get away from them in the first half, and how they must rue not going for the posts when they had the chance.

Strauss felt the the frst half scrum problems were down to a few ‘technical issues’, but after a chat with Os at half time, these were sorted out.

Naka felt the turn around came from the fact that they were just doing dum things in the first half, penalties not going out, losing the ball after 3 to 4  phases, discipline issues. The second half, Drotske said, was just a case of going back to their game plan, and doing the basics right. One of the things that Drotske had been stressing all week prior to the game to his players, was that most of the Stormers points throughout the season – 65% in fact – have come from penalties, and this was the area that they had to watch. The first half, they were taken to task through their scrum, and this was what cost them. The large amount of up-and-unders was part of that game plan. Naka sees Daniller as the Cheetahs version of Kirchener, and want to utilise him as such.

Interestingly, Naka agreed tha Sias Ebersohn has completely lost confidence since the Highlanders match, and that it was time for Riaan Smit, who had an outstanding game when he came on, to replace Sias, and be given a full chance now. So we can definitely expect a change there.

Drotske was happy with the defensive structures of the Cheetahs, he says they have been working hard in this area over the last couple of weeks, the lapses in concentration in defense is what is annoying him at the moment. Having lost so many matches this season by just a few points, in fact, the only match with a bigger margin, being that of the Bulls match, have been down to these lapses in concentration. Drotske and his team are desperate to turn things around as we go into the business end of things.

The last point on the Cheetahs is that they have a very good break coming up with the international season on our doorsteps, and a bye attached, the boys get a full 4 weeks break. With the bye, he is giving his men 2 weeks off, before coming back to training. This should revitalize all those players not on Bok duty, and give them good impetus going into phase two of the season.

On the otherside of the coin, the Stormers, game just could’t have got any worse. The first half was all the Stormers. Some enterprising runs, solid forward work and a couple of perhaps dubious penalties all played into the Stormers hands and they found themselves going down the tunnel at half time 16-0 up. Just how they got it so wrong in the second 40 is hard to fathom. But then we have come to expect some very strange things from the Stormers at times. There were no excuses for the  Stormers second half performance, and Captain Jean de Villiers didn’t mince his words. He felt the execution was poor, the discipline was poor, the attack was poor – in fact “everything except the defense, was poor…..and we definitely have to do a bit of soul searching this week”. I couldn’t agree more, because if that half ever surfaces again in this Super Rugby competition again, we can kiss our chances good bye.

Allister, however, feels he understands where the team needs to “brush up on”, and they are trying their hardest to get there. But at the same time, as poorly as they have played, the public must understand that at the moment, the Stormers are still only one point adrift of the log leaders. True, Allister, I can’t deny that, but it is not about where we are now, but where we are on the 14th July that counts, and we just can’t afford complacency.

On that note, the Stormers side has once again been ravaged by injury. This time it was Nizam Carr who has done his knee in. There was no word after the match, but Coetzee felt it was going to be a long lay off for the new man that certainly made his presence felt whilst he was on the field. By the same tokem Toetie was very pleased with the efforts of Jebb Sinclair, who flew in on Wednesday, and attended one practice session before coming on in a Stormers jersey.

However, the cupboard is fast becoming very bare, and with the potential banning of Elstadt for the knee incident, players like Don Armand and Fenton-Wells could be making an appearance. Reference was made to the fact that there could be a few Saracans players available after the loss to the Tigers yesterday. Toetie, with his lovely, dry, sense of humour, looked up, and asked if any of the hacks assembled had the cell phone numbers of any available players.

I said earlier that it inconceivable that a game could change so much in two halves, and as much as the Cheetahs deserve kudos for their second half effort, I cannot fail to feel that the Referee’s input had something to do with it. Now I am not going to slate the ref for the blowing of the match. I will leave that to others, but I feel that his management of the players, yesterday, left a lot to be desired. Walsh never really had a handle on the game, and having had the privilege of ‘field ears’, and being able to hear Walsh’s every word, I was amazed to see how poor he handled the game. There must have been 10 Captains out there, telling him what was going on and giving him advice. Not once did he tell them to keep quiet, or speak through the actual Captain, but was rather almost apologetic for alost every decision he made -including apologising a couple of times. This I think lead to the on field fight that was one of the worst I have seen in a few years. You could see that this was brewing for a while, and a stronger ref would have knocked it on the head long before it happened.

On the fight, both Captains apologized for the behavior of their men, and said that it had no place in rugby. Whilst I agree with comments about rugby being a physical and a contact sport, these sorts of things don’t do any favours to the sports image. Regarding the fight, off field yellow cards have been issued to both Fourie and Johnson.

To finish, each week, when I see Jean de Villiers as Captain of the Stormers, I am more and more impressed with his leadership. His handling of the match last night, his handling of the post match interview, and his handling of the press conference, makes me believe, and maybe a bit of bias is creeping in, that he would make a very good leader for the Springbok side.

Stormers V Cheetahs
1
Eben Etzebeth 26m
TRIES
Try Scorers
2
Hennie Daniller 48m
Willie Le Roux 67m
1/1 (100%)
Peter Grant 1/1 (100%)
CONVERSIONS
Scorers
2/2 (100%)
Riaan Smit 2/2 (100%)
3/4 (75%)
Peter Grant 3/4 (75%)
PENALTY GOALS
Scorers
0/1 (0%)
Sias Ebersohn 0/1 (0%)
0 DROP GOALS 0
Rynhardt Elstadt 55m SIN BINS
SEND OFFS
5 PENALTIES CONCEDED 6
0 FREE KICKS CONCEDED 0
53% POSSESSION 47%
82% TIME IN OPP. HALF 18%

Stats courtesy of rugby stats.com

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 George Earle, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Riaan Smit, 22 Philip Snyman.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

17 Responses to Super Rugby: Stormers vs Cheetahs Match Report – Urghh, A match of two halves

  • 1

    Looking at the time in opponents half, It seems a strange stat the they have there, I would doubt the Cheetahs only spent fourteen and a half minutes of the match in the Stormers half. But I have left the Stats, as given.

  • 2

    30 sec into the 7’s SA vs Eng match, SA knock on and Eng score.

  • 3

    Eventually SA get in with one. 5-5

  • 4

    SA get a second, before England come back after halftime with another. Eng 12-10 SA

  • 5

    Burger chips a perfect kick for Kyle Brown to gather out wide, who then dots down under the posts. Eng 12-17 SA. Why can’t the Blitzbokke play this way all the time?

  • 6

    ……and guess what. The Blitzies dark it up again. Final hooter has gone. England are behind their own line, in the corner. But Eng still manage to break out and score. Eng 19-17 SA.

  • 7

    Spanish continue their great form, taking the first try against Australia – They have certainly made a few sides sit up and take notice

  • 8

    Another point worth mentioning, is the issue of 4 bye points, that still accrue to the the chasing pack, specifically, the Crusaders, and Sharks. This effectively brings them to within a win of knocking the Stormers down the log.

    The Stormers have lost the edge, and the lack of any bonus points could now derail them, with the competition from Reds, Sharks, Hurricanes, and Highlanders, all within 6 points.

  • 9

    SAD News

    Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has confirmed that eighthman Nizaam Carr will be out for the season after injuring his knee.

  • 10

    “Carr suffered the injury when entering a ruck in the first half of the clash at Newlands, which the Stormers won 16-14.

    It was on Sunday established that Carr has torn the anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in his right knee”

    There is quite a lot of these injuries this year.

  • 11

    Two articles on Private Blogs that share my thoughts.

    1
    Second half…. What’s that?

    As a Stormers supporter I don’t know if I am relieved, frustrated, fed-up, angry, worried or disgusted after the fiasco of yesterdays game.

    Firstly the Stormers with their big name backline players cannot score tries even if their life depends on it. Everyone else has been hammering on this point, but I always believed that a win is more important and the bonus points will come eventually. But based on last night’s performance I find it hard to believe that the Stormers will score any 4 try bonus points at all this season. Obviously the wins are still first priority, the danger is that they have now lost the ability to score tries at all. Come play-off time and the Stormers defense let in a couple of tries and they are down by 10 or more points they will not know how to score tries to catch up and come back into the game. The whole Stormers game plan is build around defense and that is all very nice, but their inability to score tries will cost them if they fall behind early on. How is it possible that this backline with all its “stars” cannot cross the goal line. Ripley’s believe it or not?

    Secondly, I think someone needs to let them know that a match lasts 80 minutes and not 40. Below is a simple table of the Stormers performance during the 2012 season. First half and second half scores included.

    Doing the math’s we see that the Stormers have outscored their opponents by 80 point in the first half of all their matches, but have score 12 points less than their opponent in the second half. Now people might say that good teams are those that can win the tight games, but who wants to hold on and win a tight match if you can close out the match much earlier?

    Come on Stormers, don’t make every game a “character building match”. Score some tries and stop drinking beer at half time!!

    2
    I fully agree with Desertsport that the Stormer’s victory over the Cheetahs is hollow and that the team’s inability to score tries is becoming a massive irritation and worry. In reputation the Stormers has the best backline in the Super Series but it clearly doesn’t show on the field.

    Jean de Villiers admitted in the postgame interview that his team’s second half performance was rubbish and that they will not proceed to the knockouts if they play like they did in the second 40 minutes against the Cheetahs.

    After an uninspiring Sprinbok victory the legendary Boy Louw once said: bad, yes, but “looks” at the scoreboard.

    True, and the Stormers will take a victory anyway it comes; but against the Cheetahs they did not so much win the game as the Bloemfonteiners lost to themselves in the first half.

    The Cheetahs handed the game to the Stormers for mahala but it is unlikely that the Waratahs and others will be so generous.

    With Andries Bekker clearly not fit the Stormers no longer dominates line-outs like they did a few weeks ago. Add to this the inexplicable approach of the Stormers not to contest their opponents’ line outs and it is clear why this aspect of the game is no longer a strong point of the Capetonians.

    The same happens at the breakdown points where the Stormers do not compete for the ball and merely allow their opponents to keep procession.

    As a result the Stormers defend for 70% of all game time and the physicality this enquires is taking its toll; hence the spate of injuries.

    The loss of Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster was bound to set the Stormers back. With Nizaam Carr joining the injured and Rynhardt Elstadt probably also out for foul play the Stormers’ crisis with their loosies became endemic.

    Jebb Sinclair did not convince but will probably improve as he gets used to the Stormers’ setup and the intensity of the Super Series.

    Luckily Siya Kolise is still there and till the injured returns Deon Fourie and Eben Etzebeth will probably cover as loosies.

    Thus far the Stormers’ forwards did their bit but it is time for the “super” backline to come to the party, to stretch their opponents, to fulfil their massive potential and score tries. It sounds ridiculous to give this advice to the likes of Peter Grant, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Gio Aplon, Bryan Habana, Gerhard van den Heever and Joe Pietersen; but that is the way it is.

  • 12

    superBul wrote:

    that the team’s inability to score tries is becoming a massive irritation and worry. In reputation the Stormers has the best backline in the Super Series but it clearly doesn’t show on the field.

    superBul wrote:

    Come play-off time and the Stormers defense let in a couple of tries and they are down by 10 or more points

    The points that i agree with.

  • 13

    Thanks for quite a comprehensive report from the scene, and although it sounds like the 2nd half was frustrating for Stormers fans, at least its 4 points in the bag. The local games can be quite close and the Cheetahs would have put in a good performance anyway so would have been tough to get the bonus point this time round, you are right though it is time for the Stormers to get more bonus points for the log, after the Sharks last performance and considering their tour is over and I think they still need 4 free points and as their big players like Beast Alberts and Deysel are probably heading up to good match fitness they could start getting uncomfortably close to top 2 SA teams in the near future. Pity for Stormers to hear Carr is out injured as well now, seems like your flyhalf injury curse is now on your loose forwards. Also tough to hear from GBS posting during the weekend that Deon Stegmann has returned to SA with another injury, haven’t read much more about it but from the sounds of it he could probably right the rest of Super 15 off this year.

  • 14

    11@ superBul:On point 1 of your post from the blooger, it was interesting the Toetie picked up on this exact point in his Presser. The question was raised as to how an entire Springbok backline had the inability to score tries. His reply was that with the forwards not giving a good platform, the backs were never going to be able to score tries. I think this was a complete cop-out to the question. Backs have had so much front foot ball this season, that that doesn’t wash for me. There seems to be no confidence in the back row for me, no inter passing, running off each other, etc. needed to breach the opposition defence, and I just don’t know why. Do they perhaps spend too much time on defence?

    Just to add, Jean de Villiers noted rather drily to the same question that non of the Stormers back line deserved to be Springboks if they played like they did on Saturday!

  • 15

    14 @ Just For Kicks:
    I think the Stormers have as their main focus an impenatratible defensive system in place, which leads to a less attacking structure, as a whole.

    The key would be if the Stormers could balance their systems between defence and attack much better.

    Same is happening at the Bulls, I feel… the Bulls placed maybe a little too much emphasis on attack, which up to a few weeks ago has seen some frailty on defence, but worked wonders on attack.

    Against the Waratahs, the Bulls were somewhat better balanced between these 2 facets of play.

    In New Zealand, the Bulls would have to shore up defence even more, and play more possession rugby.

  • 16

    jfk
    that fight was one of the best i’ve seen in years … and it happened right in front of me!! Beaten-up

  • 17

    16@ ashley:To be honest, I couldn’t have been further away, so couldn’t see much. The old dear in the presser wouldn’t let it go though, went on about women and children having to see it, after Strauss and Naka finished their presser, she was up there like a rabbit giving it more verbal. Don’t know what was worse, the actual physical fight, or the verbal one she gave!!!


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