Stormers blessed at No 10

2011-12-08 14:04

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer 

Cape Town – The Stormers, semi-finalists and best performing South African franchise in last year’s Super Rugby, have named a 53-strong pre-season training squad marked by a near-embarrassment of riches in the flyhalf spot.

It is an ironic situation considering that last year they had to scrape the barrel or improvise at times in the face of a dreadful spate of injuries in the position – first-choice scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage even did duty with occasional success there when the crisis was at its peak.

The enlarged group was named on Thursday on rugby website with the proviso that it was “not finalised and players may be added at any time”.

But it did give some early pointers as to how the Stormers, SA conference winners in 2011, may look in the key area of positional depth, bearing in mind that Super Rugby will run an unusually long calendar course next year.

Quickly apparent is that No 10 ought not present such snags this time around: the cupboard is brimful of proven first-class competitors in the influential slot.

The globe-trotting Springbok Peter Grant is back in the mix and will arguably be first choice again once freed from Japanese commitments, and additional options will include prolific Currie Cup place-kicker Demetri Catrakilis, fit-again Gary van Aswegen and Kurt Coleman, plus Burton Francis and Joe Pietersen.

The last-named two are Cape products who have spent time elsewhere of late – Francis for the Lions and Bulls and versatile Pietersen in France – but return to their roots for the 2012 season.

Pietersen has often turned out at flyhalf for the Stormers/WP before and was a much-improved goalkicker before his departure for Bayonne, although the Stormers may well employ him more commonly among the back three in the Super Rugby campaign.

Allister Coetzee’s charges are rather less blessed in some other positions, including lock, where further injury setback to pedigreed Andries Bekker – almost certainly Victor Matfield’s intended successor as Springbok lineout kingpin -- would be a blow of note.

They will be able to field up-and-coming No 4 lock Rynhardt Elstadt, who missed the entire Currie Cup after making solid strides as an “enforcer” in Super Rugby, but there is a lack of proven first-class quality in their remaining second-row stock – even if there are high hopes down the line for rookies Quinn Roux and Eben Etzebeth, both of whom feature in the training group.

There are plenty of reasonably decent props in the mix, although the Stormers continue to lack at least one top-notch scrummager or gnarly ball-carrier of current international repute.

They could also be in trouble in midfield if either of Jean de Villiers or Juan de Jongh succumbs to long-term injury, especially as they have controversially dispensed with the services of Jaque Fourie, Johann Sadie and Tim Whitehead.

Grant, of course, could offer solutions at inside centre if required.

The squad named does not include at this stage former Sharks and Bok veteran Adi Jacobs, whose name had been linked with the Cape outfit recently.

Another area where the Stormers could come a cropper, if captain Schalk Burger unexpectedly needs any time out of their plans, is in the fetching role.

The departure of Francois Louw for Bath probably means Burger is going to have play more “to the ball” again, although Namibian World Cup open-sider Rohan Kitshoff remains in contention and there is also Nick Fenton-Wells, who earned maiden Currie Cup exposure last campaign, to consider.

The Stormers coaches and administrators are very eager to bang the drum of how blessed they are with talent in (or just out of) the under-21 ranks, yet more cynical supporters of the trophy-shy franchise might argue with reason that for every step forward in the vicinity of Newlands, there are always one or two backwards as well, as valuable established stars like Louw, Sadie, Fourie and Anton van Zyl seek greener pastures ...


  • barry.visser1 - 2011-12-08 14:11

    haha.what a joke.blessed my ass!

      Pieter - 2011-12-08 16:08

      @Isak We've noticed, for a decade now!

  • Wesley - 2011-12-08 14:13

    more like cursed! okes get injured there like its a joke!

  • Peter - 2011-12-08 14:14

    Good home grown talent like Earl Rose!!!

  • gerhard.nel - 2011-12-08 14:18

    I'm happy Joe is back.

      Blouballas - 2011-12-08 15:46

      Ek kan nie wag dat Francois Hougaard weer Joe naam gat maak nie.

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-12-08 14:21

    More news on the Andries Bekker injury... We need the guy damnit!

      Kosie - 2011-12-09 09:14

      south africa needs bekker, there isn't really any great locks to replace bakkies and victor except for bekker but he is only one...

  • Barry - 2011-12-08 14:58

    No doubt the Stomers will a team to be reckoned with next year. The question I have is, will any of these guys make a difference in fill that empty trophy cupboard ? I am on the fence on this one.

      Blouballas - 2011-12-08 15:46

      Like every other year?

      Gustav - 2011-12-08 17:11

      The trophy cabinet is not empty. We won the conference cup this year. That is bigger then the currie cup because it was achieved against the top teams in the world.. Go and look. Its standing there. The Bulls will definately not win it any time soon. In fact they wont even win a kiss from Malema this year. :D

      Johan - 2011-12-08 18:49

      Gustav -net jy glo dit!

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-09 06:20

      @Gustav, "The trophy cabinet is not empty" ...... are you sure? Apparently according to the history record, SA doesn't have the S15, TN, Mandela, Freedom cup let alone the WORLD CUP. I'm pretty sure you're wrong but I'm more than willing to stand corrected. LOL

      Barry - 2011-12-09 14:06

      As it stands currently I am thinking SA winners next year will come from the Sharks or the Lions. I am a Sharks supporter but really feel for the Stormer's decade long drought. One thing for for sure it is going to be interesting next year !

  • paul.ramncwana - 2011-12-08 15:10

    Wow it looks like we took 2 steps forward and 20 steps backwards.

  • camiel.phillips - 2011-12-08 15:26

    i hope they dont consider Adi Jacobs,I am sure we enough talent if they give the guys the oppertunity.

  • Deon - 2011-12-08 15:55

    They need a few strong front rowers as they have been battling a bit up front.

  • Leon Janse van Rensburg - 2011-12-08 16:08

    Ja Sharks forever you will enjoy adi Jacobs hie hieee

  • Pieter - 2011-12-08 16:27

    Who is the Stormers again, can someone please fill me in. I haven't heard that name in more than a decade.

      David - 2011-12-08 18:16

      you is on another planet piet.

      Pieter - 2011-12-08 20:30

      @David We are not dense we are...

      Kosie - 2011-12-09 09:17

      @ vallemj: please don't insult dutchmen by comparing them to bulls supporters, they are of different breed.

      Jed - 2011-12-09 09:21

      Sorry Kosie the word Pretoria was suppose to be ahead of that.

      paul.ramncwana - 2011-12-09 10:16

      I AM A STORMER!!

      paul.ramncwana - 2011-12-09 10:17

      I AM A STORMER!!

  • John - 2011-12-08 17:05

    Victor Matfield speaks highly of Etzebeth. Yes WP have lost Flo but there are some brilliant youngsters in wings Kolisi, Koster, Kitshoff and of course Dwane Vermeulen is back and well rested.

  • bplupiya - 2011-12-08 17:49

    sometimes its good not to comment specially if youre going to be negative about a positive article..

  • Epher - 2011-12-08 19:21

    SA Conference winners, and thats all! What's that, nothing!

  • Sean - 2011-12-08 19:34

    And here we go again! Pro-Stormer journalists creating a hype for those with goldfish memory spans regarding titles, cups and various other tournaments. At least it gives us reason for taking part on forums like these and see all the interesting things our rugby community has to say.

  • richard.joffe - 2011-12-08 20:21

    Best performing super 15 team last year conference trophy home semi enough said about the lions weakened currie cup victory and the rest......

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:59

      Julle is maar met min tevrede. Wepe with their boks, were trampled by the Lions

      Jed - 2011-12-09 08:25

      The Bulls with there Boks came 7th in the Super 15.

  • sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-09 06:13

    I find it ironic that our last man as in number 10 (Daffy duck, Donald) won the WC.......depth is subjective yet FANDANGO..................LOL

  • sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-09 06:14

    4 MORE YEARS of us just giving you crap..............AWSESOME

  • Jed - 2011-12-09 07:08

    Look Blue Bulls Supporters...... You lads had a short season this year LOL, Bulls back to been the whipping boys of world rugby. 7th hahahahahahaha 5th in the Currie Cup hahahahaha.

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:31

      Die laaste 10 jaar het die Bulle 5 curriebekers 3 superbekers en 2 vodacombekers gewen , dit is n totaal van 10 wp het niks gewen nie !

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:35

      Die laaste 10jaar was die Bulle 1 keer nie in die play-offs nie, wepe het dit 3 keer nie gemaak nie ( Curriebeker)

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:38

      1990 tot 2011 Bulle 7 wepe 3

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:39

      1980-2011 Bulle 12 wepe 9

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 07:44

      1968-2011( van 1968 word die Curriebeker jaarliks gespeel) Bulle 21 wepe 10

      Jed - 2011-12-09 08:35

      And bottom line wether the Bulls had a side or not. The History books say the Currie cup was won by Western Province 32 times and won by the Bulls 23 times. No one besides The Bulls supporter's give a crap when the Bulls joined. We have more Currie Cups than you like it or not.

      Jed - 2011-12-09 08:42

      FOR ALL THE BULLS SUPPORTERS WHO SAY THEY JOINED THE CURRIE CUP LATE.Provincial rugby unions that gained independence from Transvaal are Western Transvaal (currently the Leopards) in 1920, Northern Transvaal (currently the Blue Bulls) in 1938) and Eastern Transvaal (currently the Pumas) in 1948. Just for your information, your beloved NT player's have always been around. Even while Province were dominating the Competition back in the early days.

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 09:06

      you're history

      Jed - 2011-12-09 09:07

      (all that it PROVES that you're history) look it's me who is teaching you English now. And let's get one thing straight this year proves one thing, the Bulls are history. The Stormers are the future. But I guess we will see next year.

      Kosie - 2011-12-09 09:22

      2011currie cup bulls 0 2011 S15 bulls 0 its called currently.

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 09:36

      @ kosie, wp=0 cups , 10 years and counting

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 09:47

      "we will see next year " Is dit nie wat julle die laaste 10jaar se^ nie?

      Jed - 2011-12-09 10:28

      Blou Bulle 12 games 12 losses. Need I say more Province have never been that KUK.

      Nick - 2011-12-09 10:31

      blou worsie is al so desperate dat hy draws as wen tel ai ...........

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 10:55

      @ nick, Die Bulle 4 keer gelykop gespeel en die wp het 4 keer gelykop gespeel

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 10:56

      wepe 1968-1978, 11 years and no cups 2002-2011, 10years and no cups

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 11:03

      wepe's new song I believe I can fly I believe I can score a trie I think about it every night and day Spread my wings and fly away I believe I can win a cup I see me running through to score I believe I can fly I believe I can fly I believe I can fly

      Jed - 2011-12-09 12:13

      WP 1982-1986. Best side that ever played 5 years unbeaten. When have the Bulls achieved that?

      BlouMasjien - 2011-12-09 12:26

      ja dit was n goeie span !, maar daarna is dit net afdraande, die volgende 25 jaar kon hulle net 4 bekers wen.

  • pages:
  • 1