The football doesn't stop!

The 2014 SWC might be over, but the PSL and English Premiership are around the corner! Have your say on our Forum!

LIVE

    Stormers beef their NZ record

    2012-03-17 11:24
    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town – It will be considerably more difficult to achieve this year, but the Stormers are already nicely on course for a second crack at a clean sweep of New Zealand opposition in three years.

    Fifty percent of the job is done, after all ... Friday night’s deserved 27-17 triumph over the Blues at Newlands, added to their season-opening 39-26 result against the Hurricanes, meant that only two further teams from the Land of the Long White Cloud stand in their way because they drew a bye against the Chiefs this year under the conference system.

    The word “only” is used a little advisedly, as the remaining pair of obstacles in ordinary-season play will come in the form of tough nuts the Highlanders and Crusaders respectively – and both away, when the still-unbeaten Stormers embark on their overseas tour after two more South African derbies.

    Last season the Crusaders, of course, slightly dented the Capetonians’ happy track record by beating them twice at Newlands (once in the semi-final), so revenge will at least serve as a powerful motivator when they lock horns with the seven-time champions on April 14.

    But otherwise it has mostly been pleasingly productive for the Stormers against New Zealand foes since 2010.

    Significantly their best ever Super Rugby campaign that year, when they reached the final against the Bulls in Soweto, coincided with a fabulous feat – considering that South African wins against New Zealand outfits hardly grow on trees – of beating all NZ comers.

    They did play all five franchises then, with their scalps being, in order: Highlanders (33-0, home), Hurricanes (37-13, home), Blues (33-21, away), Chiefs (49-15, away) and the cherry on top being a particularly classy Newlands demolition of the Crusaders by 42-14.

    Quite why the Stormers have been the most compelling South African side against teams from the 2011 World Cup champion country is open to speculation.

    But it may well be at least partly because of their organisation, discipline and staunch defensive alignment – handy characteristics against men generally favouring ball-in-hand flair -- which was mostly in evidence against the Blues once more on Friday.

    This was except for a slightly disconcerting period where the visitors got a sudden second wind and registered two tries in the space of seven minutes in the second half.

    Considering that the All Blacks remain the benchmark side of world rugby at present, the Stormers continuing to offer fierce resistance to teams from there ought to also start benefiting several of their players bidding for Springbok selection under the new Heyneke Meyer regime this year, especially when New Zealand must be tackled in the former Tri-Nations now including Argentina.

    While coach Allister Coetzee would have been gratified by the rather more sprightly showings of backline stalwarts like Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana against the Aucklanders, arguably the biggest eye-opener on the night was the continued upward curve of their scrummaging unit.

    It was a major reason why they were able to settle some butterflies, through the ranks, after the hitherto bumbling Blues unexpectedly closed the points gap to 24-17 just inside the final quarter.

    Several powerful scrums by the Stormers eight in the closing stages made it very difficult for the Blues to attack the advantage line in a quest to snatch a cheeky draw or even win, and instead a further penalty by Joe Pietersen – after a retreating Blues scrum collapsed – finally took the game right away from them.

    Flame-haired youngster Steven Kitshoff on the loose-head side showed what a prospect he is by turning around some early difficulty against Charlie Faumuina, hardly the smallest No 3 unit around, to dominate his man, whilst again the Stormers profited by taking off the hard-working Brok Harris with 20 minutes left and Frans Malherbe bringing some impressive new oomph at tighthead.

    This area of play will give them great heart going into next weekend’s meeting with Currie Cup champions the Lions in Johannesburg (Saturday, 19:10), especially as the hosts are a little thin on props at present with JC Janse van Rensburg and CJ van der Linde both sidelined.

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com 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
    21 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • SS3
      Wed, 30 Jul 2014 @04:00
    • SS4
      Wed, 30 Jul 2014 @05:00
    • SS5
      Wed, 30 Jul 2014 @05:59
    • SS7
      Wed, 30 Jul 2014 @06:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    02 August 2014
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney 11:40

    Results

    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    EXPERT OPINION

    “Advantage is a great part of rugby, says Tank Lanning, but it allows for lots of personal interpretation, hence Victor Matfield’s tirade. ”

    Opinion Poll

    The 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby final will be contested between the Waratahs and Crusaders. Who is your money on?

    Soccer World Cup quiz!

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