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Bryan HabanaI could not put it better, so excuse me but I have to share this article by Ian Smith. I must add that I do not agree with the first paragraph though.

Cape Times

Allister Coetzee is one of my favourite people in rugby. I especially admire his dignity under pressure, and it is clear why the Stormers players have such affection for “Toetie.” His career as one of the great Saru scrumhalves only adds to the man’s stature.

But there is no room for sentiment in sport, and the fact that the Stormers are flapping about in the backwaters of the Super Rugby log is going to put a lot of heat on Coetzee. The coach has to be the man with the plan. That is just the way sport works.

And in Sydney, the Stormers looked like a team with basically one plan: Defend and force penalties. Even in the first 30 minutes, when they were just about camping in the Waratahs half, not once did they look like a team who could score tries. Even worse, they never looked like a team who had any ambition to score tries.

Other than their mauling, they seemed to be at a loss at what to do with the ball in their hands. There was no creative strategy from attacking set pieces, other than the usual one-off runners or pods taking the ball up. That is of course when they did not lose the ball in contact or spill their passes.

There were some other particularly depressing moments. Like Dewaldt Duvenage aimlessly kicking away a good ruck ball straight into touch, and a very strange move where Joe Pietersen came up on the blindside from a scrum, took Duvenage’s pass and grubbered into touch. It prompted a low growl from Phil Kearns: “What was the point of that?” Beats me too, Phil.

The Tahs were not that great either, but at least they tried to play the game. At least they mixed up their options, at least they made intelligent use of space, at least they tried to involve a gamebreaker like Israel Folau as much as possible. At least they valued the rugby ball, instead of fearing it. In other words, at least they had ambition. And that’s why they deserved to win the game.

A team plays like a team trains. And game strategy comes from the coach. Which is where Allister comes in. You just get the feeling the Stormers are a team who are coached to be scared to try things, scared to be creative and expressive. A team who are much more comfortable giving their opponents the ball and feeding off their mistakes.Yet the challenge of coaching these days is to precisely to devise a way to prise open the tight defences that dominate modern rugby. Otherwise it remains a chess game of basher against basher.

This lack of ambition has haunted the Stormers for years now. Yes, Allister has taken the team to two semi-finals and a final in three years. But in 10 or 20 years time, who will remember or care who topped the Super Rugby log in 2012? All that matters is who won the title.

The negative mindset of the Stormers often comes out in their pre-match comments as well. So often they will talk about how dangerous the Blues are with ball-in-hand, or how you have to stop the Chiefs play makers by smothering the life out of them. Instead of being confident in their own abilities, they talk up the opposition.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck Blu-Ray player, strong defense and strong set pieces will always be two of rugby’s bedrocks. But defense will only take you so far, especially in Super Rugby. There are just too many creative teams and too many creative coaches in the competition. And five will always be more than three in English, Spanish or gobbledygook. Which is why 17 Stormers tries in 10 matches is such a depressing statistic.

Being creative, daring and entertaining does not exclude the basics of rugby. You can actually entertain and win. You can make people smile and win. Boring does not equal winning, just like entertaining does not equal losing. Just page through the golden annals of sport,for a few seconds and you will see what I am getting at.

In the end, it is up to Allister to free his team from the chains of fear they seem to have had strapped around their ankles for the last few years now.

After the Waratahs match, Allister again lauded his players for their commitment and their brave defence. “Defensively we were outstanding and our set-piece functioned well,” he said.

But we know the Stormers are brave, Allister. We know they tackle like brave men. I just wonder when will they attack like brave men?

7 Responses to Super Rugby: Where to now for the Stormers?

  • 1

    Cape Town – The Stormers may adopt a more attacking approach in their Super Rugby clash against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

    The Stormers have lacked ambition on attack over the last two seasons, and this was again evident in their 21-15 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney last week where they failed to score a try. They have bagged a four-try bonus point on only one occasion over the last two seasons.

    Die Burger’s website reports that coach Allister Coetzee recently had an informal chat with former All Black coach Graham Henry after his side lost to the Blues in Albany two weeks ago. Henry is currently helping the Blues in an advisory capacity.

    “He (Henry) told me it doesn’t bother him if mistakes are made on attack, as long as you create opportunities,” said Coetzee.

    “If 50% of those opportunities are converted into points, then it doesn’t matter if it sometimes leads to errors.”

    Coetzee will in all likelihood encourage his players to express themselves more this week.

    “If you sit back and hide within the system, then it’s already a failure. But if you keep on trying, then you’ll convert a few, even if there are mistake along the way.”

  • 2

    Coetzee had a chat to Graham Henry and HOPEFULLY has woken up to the fact

    “Allister Coetzee will pick Elton Jantjies against the Rebels and finally give the Springbok flyhalf licence to play his natural game.

    Jantjies has struggled in a Stormers system that rewards a defensive mindset but doesn’t accommodate an attacking one in which mistakes are part of the latter mindset.

    Coetzee, talking to the Cape Times, conceded that the halfback pairing selected against the Waratahs did not work – and that the duo of Gary van Aswegen and Dewaldt Duvenhage kicked away too much ball.

    Coetzee will go with Jantjies and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder as a starting combination for the first time.

    The Stormers have to win every remaining match with a bonus point. It won’t happen but finally it has dawned on Coetzee that scoring tries is a must in this tournament.

    The Stormers, with 17 tries, have scored the least. Even the Kings, with 21 tries, have scored more.

    ‘I had a chat with Graham Henry after the Blues game and he said it doesn’t bother him whethery they make 40 mistakes in a game, as long as they had 70 opportunities and they complete 50 percent of those. We are normally worried about the amount of mistakes and how many turnovers we concede,’ said Coetzee.

    The Stormers coach added that the teams who have beaten them have had a higher error rate but they have also had a higher completion rate on opportunities created.

    It seems as if something finally switched on and that we can expect the Stormers to at least allow Jantjies the freedom to play his own game and not just be a catch and offload link at No 10.”

  • 3

    Gena_ZA wrote:

    something finally switched on

    if you look up and see the guillotine coming down something must swith on or something else will be off, and i bet you he would rather hope it is his head the…..

  • 4

    How,s this for a intro sentence to a article-

    NEWS: The Stormers will never win the Super Rugby title until they make changes to their under-skilled coaching staff.

  • 5

    Want a lesson in denial? Look no further than the Stormers coach at every post-match press conference.

    According to Allister Coetzee, the Stormers are on the right track. If not for a series of injuries, they would be dominating the Super Rugby competition, sweeping aside every team before them.

    If not for untimely handling errors at crucial moments, they would be scoring four-try bonus points.

  • 6

    “Erasmus resigned from his post in early 2012, and was forgotten by most when the Stormers finished top of the log and qualified for the semi-finals. But after that disappointing play-off result, and after a terrible 2013 campaign, we’re beginning to realise the massive hole that’s been left by his departure”

    Another case of a coach plowing with the people Rassie bought. They ran out of ideas at the end of 2012, and after a year with AC, 2013 turned to poo

  • 7

    Agreed with all said, time to change things me reckons


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