Stormers S14 title contenders?

2010-02-22 07:14

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – There is an old saying in rugby that attack wins you matches, but that defence wins tournaments.

If Saturday’s 27-6 win over the Waratahs is taken as a yardstick, the Stormers should be considered serious contenders for this year’s Super 14.

Apart from the first few minutes in which the Waratahs looked dangerous, one never got the impression that they would find a way through the Cape side’s defence.

Much has been said about the Stormers’ off-season acquisitions. Bryan Habana scored two tries, but if ever there was a performance in which an entire team should be lauded, this was it.

The life was systematically strangled out of the Waratahs to a point where smart decision-makers such as Berrick Barnes and Kurtley Beale looked as if they had no plan. The Waratahs’ powerful ball-carriers could not make inroads.

They kept trying, but went down blind alleys.

By contrast the Stormers cooked and in two games have conceded only one try.

Saturday the bonus point beckoned when Habana scored his second and the Stormers’ third try in the 55th minute, but it would not arrive for the home side.

Indeed, the Stormers can consider themselves fortunate that flanker Francois Louw had his try confirmed by the television match official 10 minute before half-time. However, Shaun Veldsman’s generosity did not lead to a miscarriage of justice.

After half-time the Waratahs briefly pulled themselves within one score, but a minute later Habana was responsible for the turning point when he charged down Beale’s kick to go and score. Not long after that he was fed by Ricky Januarie and finished to put the result beyond all doubt.

The Waratahs kept trying, only to be stopped in their tracks.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee credited defence coach Jacques Nienaber afterwards.

“Defence has always been important and since 2008 we have been one of the top teams in that aspect. It’s important to continue in that and even improve on it,” said Coetzee.

“We stopped their strong ball-carriers behind the advantage line and put in some quality hits. Apart from the first 10 minutes we did not stray outside our systems and tackled them back comfortably.”

The Stormers pack more than stood their ground and it would be unfair to single out individuals as a comfortable win over the Waratahs is an impressive feat.

Januarie excelled behind the red-hot pack and showed that he should be a fixture in the starting line-up.

Furthermore, the other big acquisition – Jaque Fourie – is always valuable with his organisational ability on defence.

But the Super14 remains a competition that can bring you down to earth quickly and to get carried away after two rounds will be a mistake.

Nevertheless, this performance showed that something special may just be brewing.


  • Janus - 2010-02-22 07:22

    Ag please, wait @ least for the 1/2 way status of this comp before you make this chokers contenders.

  • WPBOY - 2010-02-22 07:35

    I told you Ricky was the right choice. Still early days but I can almost smell something big coming Newland's way. You go, STORMERS!!!

  • StuartW - 2010-02-22 07:36

    What a game. Must say, both the Bulls and the Stormers played excellent rugby. Defence was again awesome and then on attack, take a bow....Habanna showed why he is still the best wing in the country.

  • Stefan - 2010-02-22 07:42

    To whoever wrote this article - "Indeed, the Stormers can consider themselves fortunate that flanker Francois Louw had his try confirmed by the television match official 10 minute before half-time. However, Shaun Veldsman’s generosity did not lead to a miscarriage of justice." - The on field referee told Mr Veldsman that he saw the ball grounded by Louw, and to just check for a reason not to award the try(knock on,obstruction,second movement). So no generosity from Mr Veldsman, just a well deserved try.

  • Blue Jake - 2010-02-22 07:51

    If they don't suffer too many injuries they should do well.

  • fuzzy - 2010-02-22 07:52

    So true, the Tah's never lloked like they were going to get ovet the line. The Stormers must have lost at least two tries due to the final pass being knocked on. The only concern is the backline, they have an abundence of riches yet eh ball never seems to go wide. Come back Jean, we need a 12 that can take the half gap and then offload, De Jongh has not learned how to pass yet.

  • Gee - 2010-02-22 07:57

    yes...don't get carried away...... the Bulls and the Stormers still have to travel.........

  • GAZ - 2010-02-22 08:00

    excellent rugby boys you did 2 things right got a win and kept the mouths shut of a lot af idiots STORMERS!!!!!!

  • Bert - 2010-02-22 08:02

    Contenders yes, Possible winners no. The Power Puff Boys wiels will come off.

  • Brett - 2010-02-22 08:11

    Written SO BLATANTLY obvious by a Stormer Supporter, Mate Like Janus says wait a while till you start blowing your trumpet ,, Every year we hear the same drivel , Give the guys a chance to prove themselves before you make statements like this , Dont hear the Bulls, Hurricanes or Crusaders blowing hot steam JUST YET

  • Steve - 2010-02-22 08:12

    Stormers are looking like the real-deal, lets hope they don't loose out like last year where they had to bank on a result out of their control to get to the semi's.

  • Rob - 2010-02-22 08:15

    LOL in true Stormers style they think they've won before the tournament has barely even started. Two wins at home, wow... They will not make the play-offs. Watch this space

  • Jeff Aucamp - 2010-02-22 08:21

    Its still early days,but you have to say things are looking up for the Stormers.Habana has the ability to lift his players around him.

  • Tom - 2010-02-22 08:24

    The Stormers one of the best defensive teams in Super 14 since 2008? Wow, if the coaches talk like this then I am afraid a reality check will be due one of these day. The results for 2008 and 2009 have proven otherwise. You can bet one thing, the top teams all took notice of the performance this weekend.

  • STRMR - 2010-02-22 08:25

    When I read a title like this, I almost don't want to read the article. It's almost the same situation every year when the stats tell you the Stormers are title contenders but them ending up disappointing the fans at the end. I'm a big fan of the Stormers and really would like them to show the "bigger" teams how its done (as with the Waratahs). It was an awesome game and their defence really surprised not only the strong pack of Waratahs but really made a believer out of me. I however can't seem to put the past behind me. Let's just hope they win all of their home games, work hard for those still-lingering bonus points and come back from what looks like a hard over-sees trip. Go Stormers!

  • Tom - 2010-02-22 08:25

    The Stormers one of the best defensive teams in Super 14 since 2008? Wow, if the coaches talk like this then I am afraid a reality check will be due one of these day. The results for 2008 and 2009 have proven otherwise. You can bet one thing, the top teams all took notice of the performance this weekend.

  • STORMER4EVER - 2010-02-22 08:31

    Great performance and great defensive structures in place, Pieter Louw did well in Schalk Burger's absence, the Stormers have a lot more depth in their group of players contracted than in previous years, it is still early days but so far so good.

  • @Tom - 2010-02-22 08:35

    Tom the coach isn't wrong. In 2008 the Stormers finished 5th in the competition and it was extremely close between the Top 4 teams. Last season, the Stormers had a much poorer season, but the team lost six games within 3 points. Now, the fact remains, a loss is a loss, but the Stormers's defence record has been very good and the stats will speak for themselves.

  • Mo - 2010-02-22 08:40

    @Rob : Bulls Supporter? Fear? This was their 2nd game, and their first win at home. Their first game was against the Lions, away. So firstly, get your facts in line. But yeah, the stormers are looking good. Its still WAY to early to say what will happen, but if they played anything like they did on Saturday for the rest of the season, then we have a good chance. I'm proud to be called a Stormer fan. The boys look as though they having fun on the field. You don't see that in any other team. Well done Stormers.

  • HABANA SUPPORTER - 2010-02-22 08:43

    SURE DEFINITE CONTENDERS - only 13 games left( semi and final incl) no probs. On the other hand they play positive and intentional rugby. Keeping our hopes up. Just continue to creating space for Habana - he has the ability to swing a 50-50 match in a matter of seconds. Bulls victories will have to much more "honest" without him!

  • Bulls fan forever - 2010-02-22 08:45

    WHAT !!!!!....again the Stormers are jumping the gun. Will they ever learn? They might have the team to do it, but mentally there are always a big collapse. Also, no bonus points in 2 games already, especially not good since both games were in SA. If the trend continues they will lose out on a semi-final spot. Just think about it, Bulls have scored 11 tries, Chiefs, 10 and Hurricanes 8 already vs the Stormers 5. Two words: "Bonus Points" Stormers !!!! Also on average the Stormers finished 7-8th on the S14 log since 1996 (9-11-5-10 last 5 years), and lost their only 2 semi-finals. So the road to a final will be much harder than just acquiring Habana and Fourie. Also they lost another semi (at home) in the CC. Food for thought on how to win the big games. @Stefan. Mate that first try was not grounded, as clearly seen on the tv, so the assistant ref lied! The wording from teh ref should have been: "can you see the ball being grounded"

  • Vaste 6 - 2010-02-22 08:45

    This looks a lot better. Now the Stormers mus t keep their feet on the ground and build on Saturdays performance for the REST OF THE S14. They still need to get bonus points. Well done Stromers, this is what we expect from you. The Bulls also looked very good. The Stormers will have to brace themselves for the Bulls game later in the S14, that will be the team to beat.

  • TMO - 2010-02-22 08:48

    The TMO had the right decision on the Louw try. The ref ask the tmo is their any reason NOT to award a try? To which he replied NO there is non. So the ref already saw the try but wanted to know whether there was anything he missed that could stop him from awarding a try. You should always listen to the question.

  • Andy - 2010-02-22 08:48

    Lets not talk about winning the title yet. Need to take 1 game at a time and build each week. Big improvement after the Lion`s win and congrats to the coaching staff and players for doing their homework.

  • Willa - 2010-02-22 08:49

    Thanks NEWS24!!!! At least you've given me the joke of the day.....

  • Die yster - 2010-02-22 08:49

    We did good and all is in place. lets hope that we are emotionally mature enough to deal with the bigger games ahead and the pressure of being intimidated, but boy, was the rugby good this weekend. How well did the lions play. good grieve. The bulls are still impressive and their rugby beuatiful. I will say nothing bad about any of the teams, except the Sharks. they lack serious fire power. They need somebody to add some spark in the back row. The forwards cant do it by themselves.

  • Dgs - 2010-02-22 08:51

    I think you are getting a bit ahead of yourself here. Its only two games into the tournament and already you want to make them contenders? Wait to see how well they perform down-under before you start making wild predictions. Remember how well the Sharks started last year and look how pathetically the finished.

  • Adri - 2010-02-22 09:02

    Januarie a fixture????Please get serious. Because of his slowness behind the pack we could'nt get the bonus point.

  • Paul - 2010-02-22 09:02

    The Bulls will walk over the stormers, Bulls won"t lose a game this year!!!...from a Lions Fan.

  • Fishy refs. - 2010-02-22 09:05

    Shut up Bulls. The ref gave you two tries on Saterday. Clearly he was instructed to block the other teams players from making tackles. Again something fishy going on up there at the bulls. Must be irritating to win like that knowing you were handed tries.

  • Stormers - 2010-02-22 09:11

    Ag please, all ye anti Stormers. You don,t need to read the article and make uneducated statements. There are plenty of other articles that you can read. Anyway, most of you didn,t even watch the game.

  • 360Deg - 2010-02-22 09:11

    Stephen Nell, u should be fired call yourself a reporter, one sparrow does not make a summer "dumber bummer ". the boys blue have still along way to go.

  • PEET - 2010-02-22 09:13


  • WP fan - 2010-02-22 09:16


  • Emile - 2010-02-22 09:17

    Well done Stormers & Bulls. Cheetahs is also at last starting to show signs of good things to expect in future (about time). For the Sharks and Lions - still shit and not doing our other teams any favours. Lions performance was actually schocking to say the least. They only scored those number of tries because the Chiefs took their foot off the peddle completely. They are really shit and should be replaced by the Southern Spears. You'll see, they will losse against every NZ/Aus team (with bonus points), but will hammer our own SA teams. Absolutely pathetic. The Sharks poor or non-existing development program is paying off. They played poor rugby last season already and could hard sore a try throughout the entire competition. Something seriously wrong in Shark country.

  • Nick - 2010-02-22 09:22

    Ag please, we've only played 2 games. How can you seriously make these assumptions so early in a very tough competion. The Brumbies next week will be a tougher deal. And if they lose, then I'm sure everyone will say that they are toast.

  • Stephen - 2010-02-22 09:27

    I think the Stormers are definite semi-final contenders if they can keep up the momentum. I don't think they have made a perfect start and to pull off two wins is a bonus. I don't think the Stormers have even got going and the team has not combined fluently enough yet. As for the Bulls well they have started like a house on fire (too much Red Bull) but this time I think the flames will be blown out by the business end of the tournament. They generally travel badly so don't see why this will be any different. The Sharks are a bit rudderless since their coach is looking to go back to NZ, Cheetahs are a dark horse so not yet sure what to expect and the Lions, well, enough said......confidence builder for the other teams!!

  • Waldo - 2010-02-22 09:37


  • Joe - 2010-02-22 09:42

    To the Bulls fans.. you were lucky against the Cheetahs. They had you on the rack for most of the game. To the Stormers fans, we are only ino the 2nd game of the tournament!

  • Joe - 2010-02-22 09:43

    To the Bulls fans.. you were lucky against the Cheetahs. They had you on the rack for most of the game. To the Stormers fans, we are only ino the 2nd game of the tournament!

  • Megabull - 2010-02-22 09:44

    Not bad but boys please get rid of that slow prop that thinks he is a scrumhalf. Guys Habana and Fourie wont be able to carry the rest of the backline all season. P.S. I am not being rude just tell you what I saw.

  • stompies - 2010-02-22 09:47

    Apart from defense, Stormers just plain average, and that doesnt win tournaments.

  • Good Stormers. - 2010-02-22 09:57

    At least the Stormers did not had a Dutch Afrikaner ref to help them in the match. looking at the Bulls game you could clearly see the ref playing for the Bulls, handing out penalties, standing in the defenders way. No Bulls tha is what I call Bull. The poor Brumbies was clearly outplayed by the Ref. I am sure with a neutral ref the bulls would neva been in the game. Sorry Bulls ask for a neatral ref in the furire. Are you Bulls guys gonna take your dutch afrikaner ref with you on tour??. Just read the other one on matfield, funny how the ref could have missed this, but this was a Blue Bull ref.

  • @bulls fan forever - 2010-02-22 10:05

    Why do we always need to put up with negative comments from Bulls supporters everytime a Stormers/WP article is published? Get your facts right - both the Stormers and Sharks have performed better in the S14 / S12 / S10 overall than the Bulls, even taking their two wins into account. And if you listened to the ref he SAW the ball being grounded, he wanted to know if there were any reason (knock etc) why he should not award the try. Well played Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs & even the Lions did well over the weekend - proud to be a SA supporter.Lets hope for at least 2 SA teams in the playoffs!

  • Aussie Bulls - 2010-02-22 10:27

    It seems all the Bull supporters are anti all other SA teams. So I propose that the Bulls become the 5th Aussie Franchise and leave SA with people who support SA rugby. 4 SA teams in the Semi's should be what we are aiming at. Forget the name Tswane, change Pretoria to Sydney Ext 2

  • Cliff Bradley - 2010-02-22 10:28

    Bulls fan forever: Its monday and maybe my hair is blonde today,but where did the Team , Management , Coaching Staff or the Fans say anything about taking the title , it was that idiot of a Stephen Nell , now you go off about the Stormers , what about when that prick of a JJ Harmse says things , you never hear a Stormer fan going on like you - Grow Up

  • BULLS FAN - 2010-02-22 10:35

    What a difference a couple of new signings have made. I think Habana and Fourie brought some steel, guts and self-believe to the team. Loss for the Bulls and Lions, but that's life. Stormers clearly know how to shop and the Sharks clearly have no idea. Sharks bought a couple of real plonkers to add to their squad of plonkers. SA Rugby has always been strong when the Bulls and Stormers (WP & NTVL) were strong. About time BOK Rugby returns to its roots. Let's just hope the BOK Selectors will for a change reduce the number of Sharks in the BOK Team.

  • Al - 2010-02-22 10:40

    @StuartW I agree, Habana is an excellent wing but he is NOT the best in SA. Nokwe is. Habana lacks two basic skills no wing of note can do without: 1. He does not protect the ball by placing it under the arm furthest from the defender, and 2. As a consequence he NEVER attempts to fend off a defender. He cood have scored many more tries in his career had he acquired these basic skills. Why no coach has been able to help him no one knows.

  • Bulla - 2010-02-22 10:41

    ..Yes, ..I agree, .....The Stormbarians are doing well so far... ...Bryan Habana had a good game...

  • king Ricky - 2010-02-22 10:50

    Ricky the best scrum-half in the country on form. Go Ricky show the racist player of colour slammers.