News24

Chiefs open door for Stormers

2012-07-06 15:18

Cape Town – Find your overdue try-scoring mojo over the course of the last two ordinary-season matches in Super Rugby and the right to a possible home final beckons very brightly.

That is the incentive facing the Stormers, SA conference leaders and presently second overall, as they contemplate their respective fixtures against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday and then the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands a week later.

The log-leading Chiefs’ 28-21 home loss to the Crusaders on Friday means the scenario is this “simple” for Jean de Villiers and company: score bonus-point wins each time and ending at the head of the pile is assured.

That is because even if the Waikato side earn a full house away to the Hurricanes in the final round – a tricky prospect although their opponents’ traditionally free-flowing and risky style is perhaps a comfort – they can only get as far as 68 points.

The Stormers (58 points) currently trail by five points but with the Cheetahs game this weekend in hand: triumph with a bonus point at Free State Stadium and they will draw level, but move top by virtue of boasting one more win (13 to the Chiefs’ 12).

The Capetonians would then know that another “maximum” haul against the limited Rebels back at their own stronghold next Saturday would guarantee top place, and the right both to a home semi-final and possible showpiece on August 4, even if the Chiefs earn five points at Wellington’s “Cake Tin”.

Indeed, if the Hurricanes – still pressing for a playoffs spot themselves, remember – have knocked over the Chiefs next Friday by a margin wider than seven points, then it is possible even a losing bonus point would be enough for the Stormers the next day to secure No 1 spot on the table, assuming they have returned from Bloemfontein with five log points.

That would leave the Stormers on a final tally of 64 points. Both the Brumbies and local conference rivals the Bulls can still earn a maximum of 64 points, but both would have earned fewer wins in doing so and not be able to leapfrog the Stormers.

There have been some raised eyebrows among critics for the Stormers’ failure thus far to register four tries in any of their 14 matches, yet recent history suggests that belatedly doing so against both the Cheetahs and Rebels can hardly be discounted.

The Stormers played the Cheetahs in the last round of conference activity last season away, and Bryan Habana’s try just short of the hour mark then brought them the quartet of touchdowns in what later turned into a 44-34 victory.

Given the up-tempo type of rugby the Cheetahs traditionally favour, and their being out of playoffs contention, an open game is quite possible if the weather plays ball – there is talk of some rain – and that could play conveniently into the Stormers’ hands again, especially given their own defensive and attack-from-turnover prowess.

Coach Allister Coetzee always adopts a “win it first, worry about the four tries later” sort of philosophy, but even he will tick off each try especially gleefully, if a good number do come for his charges in the Free State, given the knowledge of the Chiefs’ handy slip-up.

Scoring a bonus-point win over the Rebels a week on also seems a good prospect for the Stormers; they have only met the fledgling franchise once before, in Melbourne last season, and came away then with “maximum” after a 40-3 drubbing of the home team.

Meanwhile, though, both the Crusaders and the Reds (against the Highlanders) winning on Friday, albeit without bonus points, only cranks up the pressure on the eighth-placed Sharks, particularly, to win the imminent floodlit derby against the fifth-placed Bulls.

From a broad South African perspective, the chances of the three best teams from our conference all getting into the six-team playoffs are best served by a Sharks win, although preferably with the Bulls earning one or even two bonus points in defeat.

The Sharks will naturally get no favours from the visitors from Pretoria, jockeying for the best possible finishing spot themselves to earn a reasonable itinerary in the playoffs.

But certainly a Sharks reverse – it would be their seventh of the campaign -- would leave it highly unlikely that John Plumtree’s troops could squeeze through the bottleneck, even with one remaining game at home to the Cheetahs.

Remaining fixtures in this round (home teams first):

Friday night: Sharks v Bulls. Saturday: Blues v Force, Waratahs v Brumbies, Cheetahs v Stormers, Lions v Rebels.
Last-round fixtures:

Next Friday: Hurricanes v Chiefs. Saturday: Brumbies v Blues, Crusaders v Force, Reds v Waratahs, Stormers v Rebels, Sharks v Cheetahs, Bulls v Lions. Bye: Highlanders.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • Johan - 2012-07-06 15:25

    Who are the Stormers?

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-07-06 15:34

      look at the top of the log - they are the team that has been no 1 or 2 on the log for most of the last 3 years

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-06 15:36

      Pieter and when the season is finish are they the people who are always the ones with the cups as well??? That is for the last 2/3 seasons....

      aidan.w.naude - 2012-07-06 15:37

      Johan , they are the side who klapped the bulls both home and away with WEAK teams. They also currently lead the SA conference with 58 points. Only thing you got right in the post is Spies is a number 18 and not a 8. Stormers Groete.

      pierrefrewd.juice - 2012-07-06 15:40

      @ pieterkie, very much then 0 from 3. Chokers much?

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-06 15:40

      Not who but what Johan . It's a cure for insomnia they've developed down in the Cape ( been working on it for 17yr now) .. remember that when you have a patient that suffers from it . Just hand him/her a DVD of a Stomers game and the zzzzzzs will follow .

      aidan.w.naude - 2012-07-06 15:50

      Once again Bulle boys - the heading does not say CHIEFS open door for BULLS , as they are fighting to make playoffs once again.Last time this happened the Sharks knocked them out of S15 , they also failed to make Currie Cup semis last year and were knocked out of Vodacom Cup by Griquas this year - who are Chokers of late then???? I also would like to note that in playoff games 4 tries mean nuffing , a win does. Stormers Groete

      stephen.axtell.7 - 2012-07-06 15:54

      When you are arrogant right wing twats nobody cares how many cups. Which is worse Vlou Nulle supporters or Cape Crusader supporters I cant quite decide.

      Taurus.Blue1 - 2012-07-06 15:56

      I think best to describe them would be to say that they are the team who really does well during 'battle time' but always seem to lose the war! But watch them this year.....................................

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-06 15:59

      Sorry aidan are your team the defending SR champs or CC champs? .. how about 2010 , 2009, ... No ? That may have worked if you're a reds supporter but not so much if you're a zzzzzz stor zzz mers supporter

      aidan.w.naude - 2012-07-06 16:12

      Random Dude, We not saying who are the BULLS are we ????? A little respect for the most consistent side in the tournament. It is really funny how the Bulls and there supporters disrespect sides in SA and moan about refereeing ... Stormers Groete

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-07-06 16:19

      A bonus point victory for the Sharks over the Bulls,then South Africa will have 3 teams in the play-offs ie,the Stormers,Bulls,Sharks which would be nice.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-06 16:23

      aidan , come again?

      aidan.w.naude - 2012-07-06 16:28

      Random Dude - Im not that way inclined!!!!!!

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-06 16:32

      You seem to be.. since your brain went there

      aidan.w.naude - 2012-07-06 16:35

      RANDOM JOCK- Go put on your PIENK uniform and pray ..... cause tonight many people who have been on this forum will be behind a side that has History of knocking you out tournies(THE SHARKS). Then we will watch the comments about the ref and cry with laughter!!!!

      pieter.thefuture - 2012-07-06 16:44

      @pierrefrewd.juice - I would not say choke is the correct word, I mean there have been some very powerfull teams from other franchises who have ended top of the log and still ended up not winning the tournament, but what I would say is yes, it does hurt to get so close and fall at the last hurdle, but we are improving, a few seasons ago it was considered a successful season if you got to the semi finals, and it is a testament to how the team has improved so much that it leaves us gutted if we do not win the tournament. As for the comments making fun of people who say this year will be our year - I dare to say if you do not feel this way about your team you are wasting your time calling yourself a supporter.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-06 16:52

      aidan ..cool story ! Pink is not problem to me since I don't have a m0nkey on my back .. Come out of the closet aidan

  • john.comyn.18 - 2012-07-06 15:30

    GO STORMERS!

  • pierrefrewd.juice - 2012-07-06 15:37

    Stormers score 4 tries? Pigs can fly, Limpawpaw best run province in SA, our president is not preoccupied with his manly parts, and WP rugby can spot talented players at schoolboy rugby.

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-06 15:47

      Unlikely twice in a row when they could not do it in 14 games, rather win the games first.

  • jacques.l.roux.3 - 2012-07-06 15:41

    I'll give you a hint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=532Jd4Lylhc

      pierrefrewd.juice - 2012-07-06 15:44

      remember who won the game?

  • dirk.short.9 - 2012-07-06 15:55

    As usual, there is the typical mass of 'suur-gat' sharkies having a go at the Stormers. If only they could use that wasted negative energy to log more consistent performances...

  • nurdeen.parrot - 2012-07-06 15:57

    Here we go Stormers here we go to the top!!!!!

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-07-06 16:18

    A bonus point victory for the Sharks over the Bulls,then South Africa will have 3 teams in the play-offs ie,the Stormers,Bulls,Sharks which would be nice.

  • orrinf8 - 2012-07-06 17:11

    SSSTTTOOORRRMMMEEERRRSSS, JOU LEKKER DING !!!

  • lean.sadie - 2012-07-06 20:02

    Poor harold, craven, blue, randomdude etc. Your team is getting a hiding. :( Sharks playing awesome.....

      shooshyu.tu - 2012-07-06 21:12

      You mean they have been given a terrible hiding 32-10 ha ha.

  • Mr.visvangfrikkie - 2012-07-06 21:04

    Mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! That's a bloody hiding!!

  • edward.archer.73 - 2012-07-07 14:26

    well done stormers

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