Gary Boshoff

Will the Stormers wilt?

2011-05-10 09:23
Sport24 columnist Gary Boshoff (File)
Gary Boshoff

After the highly anticipated clash between the Stormers and the Crusaders, some rugby reporters felt that the Stormers were the dominant team for most of the game and that based on that “dominance” they should have won this very important Vodacom Super Rugby match.

The match was on the one hand billed as the clash between the two centre pairings; the highly experienced Springbok duo of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie and the in-form Crusaders pairing of Sonny Bill Williams and Robbie Fruean. It was also billed as a ‘must-win’ for the Stormers ahead of their four-week tour to Australasia.

Let’s first discuss the view that the Stormers “dominated” the Crusaders for most of the game.

My personal assessment of this was that in certain departments of the game there were indeed periods when the Stormers took the initiative and managed to direct the flow of the game through a combination of good phase-play and rock-steady defence. 

However, at the same time, the Crusaders displayed outstanding discipline in defence and despite being on the short-end of most of the statistics, remained patient in attack until they were able to break down the Stormers’ defences at crucial stages of the match. 

The Crusaders were better off in the scrums and certainly in the midfield Williams lived up to his reputation as the latest superstar to don the All Black jersey. 

So while some felt that the Stormers were dominant, they were equally dominated in what now seems to be the more telling aspects of the game, hence the final score in favour of the Crusaders. 

The outcome at Newlands has also once again exposed the inability of our teams and players to adapt to the changing dynamics during a match when their pre-planned game strategy is rendered ineffective by the opposition. 

The Stormers just stuck to their physical in-your-face confrontational approach that worked so well for them against the Bulls and Sharks. They kept at it for the remainder of the game despite their inability to break down the Crusaders’ defenses in the second half. 

Apart from offering your typical New Zealand hard-knuckle forward play the South Islanders have over the years build up a reputation of having a special nous for the technical and skill sides of the game. This was clearly evident on Saturday when they used all of those abilities to beat the Stormers, South Africa’s best Super Rugby side.

So while Stormers fans might think that their team lost a match they should have won, the Crusaders will celebrate a critical win and this without their stalwarts, Richie McCaw and Dan Carter!

Finally, the match also exposed the vulnerability of De Villiers in midfield: on two occasions the forceful Williams literally ran over him and if it wasn’t for poor handling from Fruean things might have looked much worse for the Stormers.

Add to that the strong scrumming by the Crusaders tight five and all of a sudden the Stormers’ performance was not as “dominant” as it seemed to be for some.

Over the next two weeks the Stormers play two New Zealand teams in New Zealand, a daunting task indeed. Both the Chiefs and Blues have very tough forward packs and more than capable backs – tough teams to bounce back against. Both games that the Stormers have lost this season (against the Reds and Crusaders) saw their confrontational forward play matched by equally tough opposition. They can expect the same from the Chiefs and Blues.

These will be the defining two weeks for the Stormers’ Super Rugby season. Will they blossom or will they wilt?

Gary Boshoff is a former SARU player and current Afrikaans rugby commentator on SuperSport.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    super 15


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring


Best ‘glamping' spots in the Western Cape

You can get the best of both worlds of camping and luxury living with ‘glamping'.



6 hiking routes you have to try
South African woman learns to surf at age 70
Pedal power to hit Kouga this May
Watch! Extreme Kiteboarding in pumping Cape Town conditions!
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!


As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel's decision to not represent South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, citing family and schedule issues, is...

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.