Stormers enter critical phase

2011-04-28 14:26

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – Under the old Super 14 dispensation, last season’s runners-up the Stormers would be contemplating a run-in period toward knockout activity ... and quite probably all back on South African soil by now.

But the maiden season of Vodacom Super Rugby, so much more of a drawn-out affair, has been less kind to them in scheduling terms and as a result they still have a mountain to climb in terms of challenging fixtures before they can dream of the newly-structured “finals series”.

Their allocation of bye weekends has been unfavourable, given that they received a pretty meaningless one on weekend No 1 of the competition and have now exhausted both breather opportunities.

But just as detrimentally, you might argue, they are one of the last-departing South African conference teams (the down-and-out Lions, just for the record, are the other) for their Antipodean tour this year.

How much of a drawback that will be remains to be seen, but some rather more weary Stormers men than usual, probably, will board a long-haul aircraft in early May – when the New Zealand weather, especially, may well be turning a tad more wintry – for their four-match obligation abroad featuring the Chiefs, Blues, Brumbies and Rebels in that order.

The Aussie encounters appear just a little kinder on paper, which means there is a case for saying the next four weeks (Sharks on Saturday and then Crusaders also at home, followed by the tough New Zealand leg of the tour) amount to a really crunch period for Allister Coetzee’s charges.

In a nutshell, they will not want to experience a speed-wobble in that period at the top of the SA conference, where the Sharks will shoot right back to favourites to end up heading it anyway if they win on Saturday – unlike the Stormers, the Durbanites have no further changes of time zones to consider until the possibility of doing so in late June for “finals” duties.

The last thing the Stormers would want is for their Australian games at the back end of the tour to suddenly become true do-or-die affairs because they have surrendered two or three of the stiff encounters ahead of them – under those circumstances they would also be much more reluctant to consider resting certain staple players who may well urgently require some “off” time by then.

Coetzee agrees that the derby is a potential “eight-point swing” affair in log terms.

“Yes, it could have a massive (effect) in terms of our conference,” he told Sport24 this week. “They’re only three points behind us so it’s easy to work out why.”

He also concurred that the “in-house” Sharks game was more important than the looming Crusaders one in many ways, given that the primary ordinary-season objective is to win the SA conference, with all the obvious advantages that entails.

“That’s correct, really. First prize is to seal the local conference. Besides, the Sharks game also ties in our stated philosophy here, where we focus strictly on the next game only, each time. Right now the Crusaders is a totally different challenge, requiring thought only later.

“The nature of this competition is such that you have no real time to ease off, and must plan (on that basis).”

Coetzee assured that the players would be “in a good space” for the tour, despite it coming so late on the regular programme for them.

“It’ll be about excitement far more than trepidation, definitely. We realised when we looked at the programme in pre-season that the tour, coming when it does, would require a massive squad effort and special (commitment).”

Certainly the Stormers’ reputation for being comfortable, happy tourists may be tested to the full once more, whatever has happened in the Cape Town-based fortnight or so preceding it ...


  • ek se manet - 2011-04-28 14:45

    lekka stormers ,good season so far , just keep doing what you do best , and win the super15 ... your die-heart fans have been wating for a long time .... !!! hoping for the best !!!!

      Peter Britz - 2011-04-28 15:05

      Sorry, but I think the die hard Stormers fans will have to wait until the Cc to see if they can get a trophy for the 1st time in 10 years!! I will say it again, the Stormers lack of tries, and resulting bonus points, is going to bite them hard!! They will have to squabble the NZ/Aus franchises for a wild card spot! I don't see them topping the SA conference! Missed opportunity!! They are going on tour, and their game in hand over the Sharks is cancelled by the Sharks 4 points for a bye, and the Stormers still have to tour!

      jontheb - 2011-04-28 15:32

      An interesting few games ahead. If the Stormers klap the Sharks again, methinks the Sharks are bound to lose at least one of their two remaining games to the Bulls, if not both. Stormers will top the SA conference for sure! Only real question remaining is whether they gain regain a few more points over their Australasian conference topping opponents...

      Bambie - 2011-04-28 23:30

      What is this top of the SA conference crap??? Who came second last year?...who came second the year before and the year before that??? I don't know and don't care.. If you are top of the SA conference and you haven't won the trophy you won nothing....So this crap of in the lead of the SA conference is absolute nonsense...Win a CUP then you can say you top of the SA conference but if you don't win anything the you just another looser....NO???

  • Lloyd - 2011-04-28 14:51

    Go Sharks!!!

      Staalbal - 2011-04-28 15:28

      Uiteindelik het Lloyd die roach uit sy gat uit geklim, net jammer sy kop sit permanent daar vas.

      Lloyd - 2011-04-28 15:36


      Coenza - 2011-04-28 15:50

      GO STORMERS!!!

  • Chadwick - 2011-04-28 14:54

    Sharks...we all know you're the best. Stormers, goodluck to you.

      Chadwick - 2011-04-28 14:56

      It's like Rocky Balboa vs Clubber Lang. Lost the first fight, but whacks him the second. Hope it's like

      MrMojoRising - 2011-04-28 20:15

      Haha. But the Sharks need an Apollo Creed of somesort first.

  • TAXILA - 2011-04-28 15:06


  • Paddy - 2011-04-28 15:20

    Entering the critical phase yes, like the last 17 yr. On paper the Stormers has won every cup on the planet, on the field unfortunately they the jokers of world rugby!

      watalife - 2011-04-28 15:34

      Paddy, the last 17yrs are over mate, to say they have been the jokers of world rugby is going a bit far. If you want to hear about jokers then please read the story about the flo rooi nulle this year. The Stormers can and will beat the Sharks AGAIN this weekend.

      Lloyd - 2011-04-28 15:37

      Paddy, daai bek kort jem.

      gooinat - 2011-04-28 15:41

      Lloyd,is that the "jem"from your toe nails??

      Lloyd - 2011-04-28 15:43

      Snaaks gooinat.

      gooinat - 2011-04-28 15:52

      @Lloyd,dankie my ou maat,I aim to please.

      john.swanepoel - 2011-04-28 18:44

      ure an idiot...jokers of world rugby? ha! you are the joker of rugby supporters!

      Rugby Rocks - 2011-04-29 06:09

      watalife : Can't you see the hand of some useless ,stupid supporter of that rubbish from Tswane in this post - It's a Paddy wannabee , those rubbish can't be original so they play wannabee - Just like their useless Rooi Trille Team !!!

      Lloyd - 2011-04-29 08:32

      John, stuur bietjie daai stukkie van jou hierdie kant toe.

  • ilollipop - 2011-04-28 15:26

    The sport writing on 24 is so poor. The "journalists" start sentences with "But" and "He". Pathetic.

  • Rampage15 - 2011-04-28 15:34

    We trust in Coetzee to bring the Super15. Sharks u can listen to the media pimping u guys as favorites bt come Saturday 19h01 Sold out Newlands u will c how strong the storm is. STORMERS!!!!!!

  • André - 2011-04-28 15:44

    Die Stormers het geen revers, kyk Saterdag wie het nodig n nurs/////

      john.swanepoel - 2011-04-28 18:41

      julle het al die goed verlede game gese...julle sal weer julle woorde sluk, pasop.

  • Hunter 008 - 2011-04-28 17:18

    The SHARKS are still the best team !! Stormers have just been lucky !!

      john.swanepoel - 2011-04-28 18:42

      lucky? pffff....dont be a sad loser....

  • Carl Muller - 2011-04-28 17:58

    Go Bulls, sorry Stormers go. Two hours only Stormers supporters club fan, Bulls forever.

      jontheb - 2011-04-28 19:10

      Jawat - I'd still rather see the Bulls go through with the Stormers. PDivvy will pick John Smit, so it's better that he gets plenty of RnR before the RWC.

  • Paddy - 2011-04-29 03:31

    Hi All, I'm Paddy, I'm a shepherd and I have the same appetite for sheep than the Kiwis do. My daughter Bella was conceived through my actions in the herd one late Saturday night. I'm so proud of her, the ears are a little low from all the inbreeding but she 's a huge Stormers supporter. She's 11 now, and like her 17yr old sister , Dorper,has never seen the idots lift a cup! My wife (who is also my sister) has a good chance of taking d@os Duane spot in the team.

  • Whatever - 2011-04-29 03:50

    Ek moet toegee hoewel ek 'n Stormers supporter is en sal bly moet ek erken dat die Bulls in alle opsigte die beste SA span in die geskiedenis is. Kom ons gee dit vir hulle, beste SA Super rugbyspan, Curriebeker, verdedigende Super kampioene sowel as Wereldbeker kampioene. Niemand kan daarteen stry nie.

      Howzitekse - 2011-04-29 13:46

      You are only as good as your last game.

  • Whatever - 2011-04-29 03:56

    Ek en Cliffie Bradley kyk so nou en dan saam rugby, kaal. Ons skree vreslik vi ie Stomes, nie een va ons he eintlik tanne ni, ma ons try. Ons kap so nou en dan mekaa bietjie agte by die hol dol

      Marius Swart - 2011-04-29 12:01

      Manne nou gaan julle te ver.Dit is net n' game - Relax

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