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First of all, a heartfelt congratulations to the Sharks. A better team, a better Game plan, and a better execution. They came, they saw, they conquered.

The Sharks… this is a team that lost 50% if it’s first 10 matches in this year’s competition, whose coach – by his own admission, thought his job was on the line and a team that in the early stages clearly didn’t have their minds completely on the ball. How they have peaked at the right time!

Yes they looked tired and yes they were tired, again the coach admitted this, but through strength, belief, clever substitutions, a solid game plan and a will to win, this side now find themselves on a plane to Hamilton, and a chance to place a revered cup in their display case for the first time in the competition’s history… and how they deserve it.

Good luck Sharks, go to New Zealand and bring the cup home. The whole country is behind you. There is no provincialism now.

Having said that, and I will leave others to disect the Sharks season, it is time to reflect on the Stormers game and season.

Where did it all go wrong?

Was it the injuries, was it poor coaching, was it the occasion, was it the lack of the right players, or was it a combination of all four?

This is a team which lost in the final in 2010, got through to the semi’s in 2011 after topping the SA conference and coming second in the overall table and again lost in the semi’s after topping the log in 2012. A team, we are told is still developing. Well any more development to make them into a winning outfit, may well see them having to start again, as the team would have retired through old age before then.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bitter or beat up, I am not so depressed that I need to rant and rave, I just want to disect the the season and find out just why the Stormers have come so close three times in the last three years but have just not been able to cross the final hurdle.

I disagree with some comments that everyone thought the Stormers were going to win this semi final, and that the Sharks had no chance. If we are honest with ourselves, and I think the comments by the Stormers supporters on this site over the last couple of weeks backs up what I am about to say, we all knew we were never going to come out on top this time – it wouldn’t have mattered who we played in the semi’s, we simply didn’t have the game plan to go any further. We weren’t being negative or pessimistic, just honest.

Allister Coetzee took great delight in press conferences during the season when the Stormers won, to point out to his detractors that his side were still winning and surely that is what counts, and yes they were, but somehow, he just seemed to not see the bigger picture that the journalists were trying to point out. A picture in which a scene was painted where the Stormers, whilst probably being the best defensive side in the world, had little else to offer. A side seemingly devoid of ability to cross the try line, and a side seemingly – and from a spectators point of view – devoid of any attacking plan.

Again, don’t get me wrong, the players put their hearts and souls into this match, just as they have done for every match this season. They were, to a man, mortified by the loss. Jean de Villiers visibly upset in the press conference. So you cannot blame it on the players’ lack of effort – that would just be too easy!  These guys put their bodies on the line last night and it showed in the bone crunching effort that they put in.

The answer to me, is simple. We just don’t have the ability to make the play. So much so that on Saturday night (as in so many other matches) we reverted to individualism. In some matches it is the individualism that has seen us through, but not this one. One only has to look at Gio Aplon to back up my point. Last night, there wasn’t a single pre-planned move that I can remember. No dummy runners, no slick inside passes, no running off each other to create space and the overlaps. In every attacking move, the players, forwards or backs, just took the ball straight up.

Never was an overlap attempted or manufactured, heck not even a sidestep was tried. They simply ran straight into the opposition. Whilst defence has won the Stormers matches in the past, it just takes one key player to be slightly off form for the system not to work… and this weekend there was one. The culprit was Joe Pietersen, he was woefully out of sorts, that was just the chink in the armopur that the Sharks needed, and they exploited it.

Defence, defence, defence. That is what has defined the Stormers this season. Jaques Nienaber deserves a special mention at this juncture for putting a system into place that has had the rest of the world in awe, literally. It is a system, that when implemented properly, is almost impossible to break through. But like a good safe, it is only brilliant until the code is broken. It has taken nearly two seasons but other teams are beginning to find ways beat the system. Chip kicks, players running off each other, grubbers, etc are all tactics that have been tried against the Stormers, and whilst at first unsuccessful, once perfected, they start to count.

Frederic Michalak utilised these to perfection this weekend. Oh yes these and the drop kick. Not once, but twice.

What I am trying to say is, if other teams are starting to find ways around the Stormers defensive systems and not only that, but start to utilise the same defensive systems themselves, just as the Sharks were doing last night, the playing field for the Stormers is levelled once again… and we need another plan to gain an advantage.

And this, my friends, is where it all falls apart. There simply doesn’t seem to be an alternative approach!

Am I being harsh? Probably!

I am sure that the brains trust of the Stormers are sitting around their trusty computers, in front of blackboards and in conference trying to come up with plans, but they are not converting these to the field, and that is the only place that the fans will see the fruition of any plans. The fans are not though, and with the lack of any meaningful explanation from the coaches, or improvement in the attacking ability of the team over the entire season, we must draw our own conclusions.

I have been to every post match press interview at Newlands this season bar the one where I was on holiday, and the thing that has struck me the most, is what a good politician Allister Coetzee would make. He successfully seems to avoid every penetrating question thrown at him, and Saturday night was no exception. Twice, he made the point that the Stormers were one of three sides (along with the Sharks and Chiefs) that hadn’t regressed as the season progressed, and that THAT was important.

Of course it is important, but we’re not contemplating regression, we’re looking for progression, and that is what is lacking… but Allister Coetzee just won’t admit it. When asked a direct question about the inability of the Stormers to attack – once again, he answered by saying, and I quote, “If you think the kick that Louis Shreuder made towards the end, if you think that we would have had a better chance of scoring out there or having the opportunity to score where we were, I think our kicking game is what normally gives us the territory and when we have the territory we go into attack, and , er, we almost scored towards the end, and a lot of people, when he kicked that kick, said, ‘gee, why are we kicking it away?’ so yes we understand, er, that we’d like to score tries, Jean was over the try line unfortunately he didn’t score, that one was held up, and, er, we got close……”.

I know that was a bit long winded, but whaaaaaaaat!!! What the hell did he say?

It is just gobbledy-gook political speak, and just leaves everyone trying to understand just what the hell he said.

To give Allister Coetzee a bit of credit though, he did say, when asked to qualify his answer, that the problem with Stormers attack was “impatience”.

Whaaaaaaat!!! Just what is that meant to mean – mate? You’ve had a whole season to sort out ‘impatience’, and surely that must be one of the easiest things to figure out.

This is a team which has scored a pitiful 28 tries in 17 matches. This, in a competition where the average is 40 tries per team in as many matches. Surely this can mean only one of four things, as alluded to earlier, either poor players, a poor game plan, poor execution, or poor coaching. Lets break that statement down a bit.

Poor players: Well if it is inability on the players’ part, then we cannot blame them. If they are not good enough, then surely the coaching staff, scouts and brains trust should be finding the best players and buying them, not selling them, as we have been doing over the last couple of seasons.

Poor game plan: Well if this is the problem, we cannot fault the players again. It is the coaches who put the game plans in place.

Poor execution: This means that we have the right players, but that they just aren’t getting it right. The coaches need to implement other methods to get the message through.

Poor coaching: Well then the coaches are the problem.

And this is the point I am really trying to get to in the nicest possible way, and without trying to sound vindictive!

Surely, after three years of being in the position that the Stormers have been in, and not quite making it, they should be looking at the coaching staff.

  • The Stormers certainly don’t need to get rid of Jacques Nienaber – that goes without saying – the best defensive unit in the Competition.
  • Mathew Proudfoot, to my mind, has worked miracles with the Stormers scrum. One of the areas we have really struggled with in the past, and apart from one or two matches, the front row has stood up very well.
  • That leaves Robbie Fleck and the coach himself Allister Coetzee. It is just a personal opinion, but I think that maybe this is where the changes must come for the Stormers in order to improve. Maybe it is time to give John Dobson a chance. Here is a coach who has come through the ranks with the players. A coach who has had success at the different levels that he has coached and a coach that knows the players in the Western Province system like the back of his hand.

Just a thought…. or two…

 

After Match Press Interviews:

Sharks – John Plumtree

 

Stormers – Allister Coetzee

39 Responses to Super Rugby: Stormers – A time to reflect

  • 1

    JFK, I can understand your frustration but getting rid of Coetzee after the very same guy managed to forge a new team every week given the on-going injuries would be very rough justice.

    If we have a problem is that our backline lacks cohesion going forward. We have two outside centres and no true 12..

    And last night we definitely did not have the vision of a Michelak at 10.

    Given the players we had, the Stormers had a great season and deserve to be congratulated.

  • 2

    Stormers made the semi’s without Burger and Vermeulen plus lost their reserve loosies due to injury and you want to fire the coach?

  • 3

    JFK, sorry friend your team has let you down again. It is tough and really nothing i say can take that hurt away.

    When the Stormers appointed AC i was there saying BIG mistake. I said he ruined the talented Springbok backline and only the co-opting of Eddie Jones made SA the RWC Champs in 2007.
    Well do i need to say that with all the talent in the Stormers backline , he coached every little hope out of them, he made them look like the most impotent backs in SA. Really for a Bulls supporter not to fear a WP/Stormers back line was a new experience.

    Scary things said by AC in News24 report-
    “Remember that in last year’s semi against the Crusaders we basically gave up … perhaps not gave up, but were certainly over-powered.
    “If it takes another four seasons, I will never stop fighting … we are going to win that cup.”

    Well well well interpret it any way you want but i would shudder to give him another 4 years.

    A little thought about my teams coach,
    Ludeke have got a massive challenge next year, can he build a new game plan. He has the personnel, the management and the structures but if he thinks we can go on with the kick and chase game plan we are in for a rude awakening. The pods, the “trains” all will be risky/controversial with the new 5 second ruling.

  • 4

    A 36-man national training squad has been named to assemble in Sydney on Wednesday for the second of two three-day camps prior to the announcement of the Wallabies squad for the inaugural Rugby Championship.

    The group features a number of members of the Queensland Reds side from Super Rugby who were omitted from last week’s first camp in order to rest after their exertions from that competition.

    Wingers Digby Ioane and Dominic Shipperley, midfield backs Anthony Fainga’a and Mike Harris, halfback Will Genia and loose forward Scott Higginbotham all join after being allowed to by-pass the first post-Super Rugby assembly.

    Western Force second row Nathan Sharpe is also included after being allowed to miss the first training camp.

    All seven additions were involved in the Qantas Wallabies squad during the June Tests.

    The players involved in the first training camp who will not participate in the upcoming session are the Melbourne Rebels centre Mitch Inman, NSW Waratahs winger Lachie Turner, Waratahs utility back Bernard Foley, Brumbies loose forward Ben Mowen, Rebels lock Hugh Pyle and NSW Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan.

    The training squad breaks again on Friday, with the 30-man Qantas Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship to be named on Tuesday August 6. That group assembles in Sydney the morning it is named.

    The Qantas Wallabies training squad for this week’s second camp in Sydney ahead of the inaugural Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship is: Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels), Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs), Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs), Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Cooper Vuna (Melbourne Rebels), Nick Cummins (Western Force), Dominic Shipperley (Queensland Reds), Rob Horne (NSW Waratahs), Anthony Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds), Pat McCabe (Brumbies), Mike Harris (Queensland Reds), Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds), Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs), Will Genia (Queensland Reds), Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels), Nic White (Brumbies), Radike Samo (Queensland Reds), Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds), Jake Schatz (Queensland Reds), David Pocock (Western Force), Michael Hooper (Brumbies), Liam Gill (Queensland Reds), Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs), Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs), Nathan Sharpe (Western Force), Rob Simmons (Queensland Reds), Cadeyrn Neville (Melbourne Rebels), Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs), James Slipper (Queensland Reds), Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs), Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs), Ben Alexander (Brumbies), James Hanson (Queensland Reds), Stephen Moore (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (NSW Waratahs).

    * The players who were not considered because of injury are: Salesi Ma’afu (Western Force), Dan Palmer (Brumbies), Saia Fainga’a (Queensland Reds), James Horwill (Queensland Reds), Ben McCalman (Western Force), Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs), Paddy Ryan (NSW Waratahs), Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies), James O’Connor (Melbourne Rebels), Joe Tomane (Brumbies).

  • 5

    The All Blacks selectors, Head Coach Steve Hansen, Assistant Coach Ian Foster and selector Grant Fox, have named a group of players to attend a wider training group camp ahead of the Investec Rugby Championship.

    Twenty-eight players will attend the camp in Wellington on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

    All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said the camp would provide valuable preparation time ahead of the Investec Rugby Championship.

    “It will allow us to reflect on our last performances in the Steinlager Series and begin the process of getting ready for the Investec Rugby Championship.

    “We will mainly be looking to re-establish the way we do things in the All Blacks, and it’ll also give those players who haven’t played much rugby recently, the chance for a good hit-out.”

    Hansen said Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles had been included in the wider training group as part of the All Blacks’ on-going search for new talent.

    “We already know a lot about Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Corey Flynn and Hika Elliot and now it’s Dane Coles’ chance to come into the All Blacks environment and gives us the opportunity to see him at closer quarters.”

    Players from the Chiefs, who are playing in the Investec Super Rugby Grand Final next weekend, will not be attending the camp. The All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship squad will be named on Sunday 5 August.

    The players attending the Wellington wider training group camp are as follows:

    Blues: Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Ma’a Nonu, Piri Weepu, Ali Williams and Tony Woodcock.

    Hurricanes: Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Cory Jane, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith and Victor Vito.

    Crusaders: Daniel Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Israel Dagg, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Zac Guildford, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Luke Romano and Samuel Whitelock.

    Highlanders: Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and Adam Thomson.

    Meanwhile, media are advised that Mick Byrne has re-joined the All Blacks coaching staff as a Specialist Skills Coach.

    “As we all know, Mick has a unique skill set which is invaluable so we are delighted to have him back in the team,” Hansen said.

  • 6

    OK back to bed and work tomorrow, my midnight sojourn is over.
    Cheers

  • 7

    The Stormers need 3 new props, 2 hookers, a scrumhalf, a flyhalf and a new game plan.

  • 8

    @ Spooony,: @ fender: The Stormers have had a great season, I don’t deny it, and kudos for that. Unfortunately you can’t bring the injuries into the argument, because it just becomes a “what if” scenario. All teams have been ravaged with injury this year. My argument is simply that the Stormers have done so well over 3 years, reaching the same dizzying heights each time, but just not making that last step up. They have obviously reached their plateau. In any business, if you have reached the a point where you are not progressing, you need new ideas.

    To my mind, this team is brilliant, they just need some tweaking, but after 3 years, the same “tweakers” are struggling. So if not the coach, then what? Like I said, I am not being vindictive, I am looking for answers, and if AC or Flecky aren’t the problem, then they must stay.

  • 9

    Hello JFK, sorry for you that its ended like this, can remember at many stages during the season you guys lamenting how Stormers were somehow scraping through the games and often not producing a solid 80 minute performance, its a tricky one because there are many reasons one can think of as to why things didn’t work out but I think just remember in spite of all of these you guys still ended top of the league log, yes I know the format of the competition means that it has knockout games, in these situations of a one off knockout game anything can happen and you only lost by 7 points.

  • 10

    Many of the teams struggled at various stages with injury but for me the key is that the Sharks are ‘peaking’ at the right time with their big players getting back from injury at the right time, while the Stormers struggles continued throughout the season, just looking at the loosies on the team sheet shows what big problems they had – I mean to play a hooker at eigthman just shows the problems, any team that can do without the calibre of loose forwards they have had to and lose so few games can’t be that bad. In addition to losing the loose forwards to injuries some of the backup players didn’t hang around and signed up for overseas so Stormers really had to dig deep there. Another thing to remember is the loss of key backline players Cronje, Engelbrecht, Sadie (I know he went off the boil this season but sounds like he was a star last year), with these players around maybe the game plan would have been more adventurous. Preseason can also be a very important time so it wouldn’t have helped preparations to not have Grant there for that and then him also missing some of the Super games at the start.

  • 11

    Fans can be funny at times as well, I feel many times when teams are winning and doing well then the players get credited but when that same team loses then coaches are blamed, maybe in the Stormers case its a combination of coaching and players that need to shoulder the blame for this loss but at the same time both need to get the credit for getting into the position to host the semi-final in spite of all the obstacles they faced.

  • 12

    Finally am sticking my neck out here (remember didn’t watch the game) Wink but it seems that in addition to all the good things the Sharks did in the game they used the ‘kick and chase’ to good effect, scoring a try off an up and under and gosh there were two drop kicks as well, this is the kind of play my Bulls have been criticized for but it shows when it comes to crunch games and if utilized well then these things do work.

  • 13

    out-thought,
    outplayed,
    outmuscled!!
    well done to the sharks and their supporters!!
    best of luck for the game this weekend!!

  • 14

    ok, just a quick question:
    i’ve missed a bit of the aftermatch interviews, but came back into the room while allistair was interviewed. did i get it right? was he actually blaming “some players”? (i’ve havent heard the full interview, so i mightve gotten the wrong impression). help anyone?

  • 15

    jfk
    i’m with you on this one … ac should do the right thing and fall on his sword.
    ..
    now about the achievements of this stormers side:
    who should get credit for the steady “improvement” of this side (if you consider where we were a few years ago)?
    is it ac or should that credit actually go to rassie? what have fleck/ac actually brought to this side (especially in their backline play)?
    i’ve nearly fallen on my back 2 weeks ago (watching the game against the rebels … in which jdejongh scored one of his 2 tries). the cameras then showed the stormers’ coaches box and caught the moment that allistair was actually congratulating robbie fleck for that try!!
    now, i’ve seen that try quite a few times over the last few weeks and never thought that it was anything but individual brilliance!!
    that moment caught on camera actually shows what kind of problems we have (if the backline coach/es think that try was all their doing)!!

  • 16

    @ ashley:No, I was there too, I certainly didn’t hear him blaming some players, in fact, the opposite, he praised his team. He did however use the word impatience by his players, which is what you may be referring to, but most of what he was saying was just double-dutch. Wish I had known you were there, would have been nice to meet you!

  • 17

    jfk @ 16
    lol, no i wasnt at newlands!!

  • 18

    17: more asbak, gaan jy Saterdag Nuweland toe vir bietjie stilte in jou lewe ?

    Zzzzzz

    Wink

  • 19

    bdb @ 18
    hahahaha, jaaaaaaa nê? Sick

  • 20

    19: Toe maar ou maat, daardie finaal-wen moet een of ander tyd kom, en dan gaan hy soveel lekkerder wees. Wanneer dit gaan wees, is natuurlik ‘n ope vraag.

  • 21

    i have uploaded both press interviews for you to listen to if you’d like. It is in “About”, and under “Recorded Press Interviews” Forgive the few second delay before it starts, I don’t have the ability to edit sound file. GBS, I couldn’t find any heading called media to upload to, so made my own page. You will have to move it though, that is beyond my abilities!!

    Enjoy, and note the difference in the voices of both coaches, one jubilant, and one rather forlorn.

  • 22

    We had a vet lekker party at my kaya, think I have as much body pain as the players after my uncle Dom Pedro made an appearance..

    Any case, Stormers lost and Sharks played better on the day, wishing them all the best for the final game
    May SA unite behind the Sharks!

  • 23

    Hellloooooooooooo!

    Back from a weekend of vreet and enjoy!

    On Saturday we went zip-gliding on marvelously long foofie slides in the Hazyview area… and was back in time for the rugby.

    … but inbetween those mountains at Waterberry Hill there was virtually no Internet connection, so I could not join in the game article…

    Yesterday, Sunday… what a fabulous day…

    We went to the Elephant Sanctuary on the Sabie Road from Hazyview, early, after we had booked for 08:00 the day before. We interacted with the ellies, rubbed them, felt their skin, behind their ears, inside their mouths and on their tongues… fed them, felt their trunk tips… and were amazed by their gentle and tranquil eyes and behaviour.

    We went for a walk with the ellies, trunk in hand…. and felt like kings and queens!

    Thereafter off we went into the Kruger National Park, where we entered at Numbi Gate, made our leisurely way to Skukuza, where we had a waffle and cream and a couple of Hunters Gold…. and then we leisurely made our way to the new Phambeni Gate (below Kruger Gate) and back to Waterberry Hill near Hazyview.

    This morning we left early… 06:00… and alas I am back behind the desk as I’m writing this!

    Took some marvelous pictures, who’s interested in a few of them?

  • 24

    @ grootblousmile:Sounds like a pretty boring weekend to me. You really should get out and do things when away on holiday. There is so much to see and do there!!!!

  • 25

    24 @ Just For Kicks:
    Hehehe

    Living the life of Ryan, that’s what I’m doing!

    Commisserations on your team’s loss this weekend… Sharks were monsterous!

  • 26

    @ superBul:
    Yes he was responsible for sinking the Titanic and for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Oh the irony a Blue Bull talking about taking the life out of a backline. DID YOU WATCH SA VS ENGLAND? Bulls coach Bulls flyhalf Bulls bumper car rugby and shitty Spies. Steyn been brain washed Blue Bulls style. The bench they were sitting on had more creativity than him. Stormers took the little they had and made something out of it. The Bulls couldn’t even buy a home semi.

  • 27

    @ Just For Kicks:
    No one said what if. We lost finish and klaar see you next year. We made it to the semi’s and lost only 3 games thank you

  • 28

    23 @ grootblousmile:
    Great, sounds like you had a good weekend Gbs will be nice to see some of your pics to whet the appetite

  • 29

    25 @ grootblousmile:
    By the way who is Ryan? Happy

  • 30

    29 @ Bullscot:
    The saying either goes “The life of Bryan” or “The life of Ryan”, I’m not sure at all… hehehe

    I chose Ryan… seeing as Bryan Habana has’nt exactly had a faultless life in the last 2 or 3 years… hahaha

  • 31

    Here’s a few pictures of the Elephant Sanctuary…

    Casper & Handler

    *************************

    Ellie 2 & Handler

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    Ellie2 & Greg

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    Ellie 2 & GBS & Handbriekie

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    Ellie 2 & GBS & Handbriekie

    *************************

    Ellie 2 & GBS & Handbriekie

    *************************

    Ellie 2 & GBS & Handbriekie

    *************************

    Ellie 2 & GBS & Handbriekie

    *************************

    Ellie 2 & GBS

    *************************

    Casper & Greg & Marietjie & GBS & Handbriekie

    *************************

    Casper & Handbriekie & GBS

  • 32

    And here’s a few pics taken in the Kruger…

    Kruger Park - Bromvoël

    **************************************

    Kruger Park - Bromvoël

    **************************************

    Kruger Park - Glossy Starling

    **************************************

    Kruger Park - Elephant

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    Kruger Park - Elephants

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    Kruger Park - Elephants

  • 33

    Hey GBS, nice pics.

    Looked like it was a nice “chill out” weekend away.

    Not like us poor bastids left here in the metropolis entrusted with keeping the wheels of the economy turning!

    Oh the weight of the responsibility!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 34

    33 @ Scrumdown:
    Was freegin nice…

    Was difficult to start working again yesterday afternoon!

  • 35

    @ grootblousmile:
    Top class pics Gbs laat my sommer verlang na die bosveld, looks like that elephant liked you giving you a bit of a ‘hug’ with his trunk Approve

  • 36

    30 @ grootblousmile:
    Yeah know it was reference to a saying, was also just thinking of a song with the lyrics “life of Riley”, think it was Pet Shop Boys not sure though as they were before my time Wink

  • 37

    Many comments about the game and all the different viewpoints carry some validity.

    However IMO (not that it counts for much), MOST of the SA teams have a lack of creativity about their play, and will really struggle in a high profile game against teams like the Crusaders and Chiefs.

    Let’s face facts, the Stormers have struggled to score tries all season, and there lack of bonus points proves this.

    With the Sharks having started to play with more creativity than the SA conference teams have seen in a while the Stormers were always going to be behind the 8 ball if they allowed the Sharks to put points on the board early.

    Much of that creativity may well be as a result of the Frog being allowed to express himself more than in the past. Who knows.

    Oh, and by the way, I thought that he (the Frog) handled the post match interview VERY well with a great deal of humility. Koudos to him.

    All said, as a neutral I enjoyed the game IMMENSELY, and dof my hat to both teams for putting on a great game of Football.

    Well done.

    The Sharks probably have the best chance (of any of the SA teams based on the last months’ form)of going over the waters and getting something out of the game, BUT, the amount of travelling they’ve done in the last couple of weeks may tell against them.

    For once I’ll back the team in black, even though it goes against every instinct in my body.

    Bring it home Sharks!

  • 38

    35 @ Bullscot:
    That “Hug”… the handler gave the ellie the instruction to kiss me.

    Jeeez, these ellies were tame and gentle… amazing!

  • 39

    37 @ Scrumdown:
    It’s a very tall task for the Sharks to achieve… but they could just do it!

    Favourites, no doubt, will be the Chiefs… at home.. and with the Sharks having continiously travelled between continents in the past few weeks.

    Go Sharkies, my support is squarely behind you for the Final!


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