Vodacom Super Rugby
Stormers are a true force
Deon Fourie (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Shame on you, Stormers!
Don’t worry, it’s just a joke, but Stormers coach Allister Coetzee pleaded with the Cape rugby media on Saturday night to say no more about their 51-16 victory over the Western Force than that they simply managed to score more than one try.
Jokes aside: If the Stormers don’t want to boast about what was close to a complete performance in this Super Rugby match, we will gladly do it on their behalf.
The Stormers management’s started preparations at 6am the preceding Sunday following the victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria and Saturday’s six tries was fitting reward.
Yet one of the most pleasing aspects of the win over the Force is that it was not merely the reward for a week’s hard work.
If one wants to properly assess such victories, you have to go all the way back to the creation of the Western Province Rugby Institute in Stellenbosch when Nick Mallett was still director of rugby. You also have to examine the continued positive contributions by Rassie Erasmus in his capacity as director of rugby.
The point is that what was seen against the Force was no coincidence. A number of individuals sweated blood so that the Stormers could dish up that kind of entertainment.
A notable development in the last few years is the establishment of a pack of forwards capable of stamping their authority on the game with forward coach Matthew Proudfoot deserving credit for achieving that.
The pack, with Andries Bekker leading the way, performed really well against the Force so that backline players such as Peter Grant, Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie could shine.
The party started as early as the second minute when Fourie scored a try after the Stormers had won the ball back from their own kick-off. After that there was more constructive play and also a bit of luck to get the Newlands crowd on their feet.
Deon Fourie scored his first try in the 22nd minute when the Stormers launched a rolling maul. Predictable yes, but which other team does it as well as the Stormers?
Then there was a sensational try from Jaque Fourie, with Jean de Villiers first beating two defenders and then linking with Francois Louw before Nick Koster made the final pass.
The luck came with the bounce of the ball when Deon Fourie collected his own chip kick, but initiative like that deserves reward.
If the individual brilliance was easy on the eye, bear in mind that the Stormers’ champagne rugby bore the mark of 15 players.
Peter Grant’s kicking was also faultless and perhaps the Stormers should consider playing him a song? After all, Morné Steyn gets to hear Simply The Best every time he slots a kick at Loftus, and many Capetonians will be of the view that their flyhalf is currently playing better rugby than the Bulls man.
Just as predictable as the Stormers’ very effective rolling maul was the plea for humility afterwards.
But make no mistake: The Stormers are now a force in the Southern Hemisphere.