History firmly with Stormers

2012-07-15 22:57

Cape Town - Finish top of the overall log after ordinary season and you will almost certainly go on to win the Super Rugby title as well.

That is the heartening historical message to the Stormers, as they look forward to a reinvigorating bye week before a home semi-final in the last weekend of July.

They will certainly hope the little “gap” period pays dividends for them because some critics might argue that a week’s inactivity isn’t automatically their best fate after a poor showing on Saturday in which they were outscored by three tries to two, despite narrowly beating the unfashionable Melbourne Rebels in their last league encounter at Newlands.

But the fact remains that the Stormers have headed the pre-playoffs phase for the first time, displaying an admirable ability to prevail in close contests and in spite of occasionally horrendous injury-related setbacks right through the marathon season.

The history of the competition is such that the team ending in that table-topping situation overwhelmingly goes on to clinch the trophy as well - something never yet achieved by the Capetonians despite prior appearances in one final (2010) and three other occasions in which they have been losing semi-finalists.

In the past 12 seasons, since 2000, only twice has the team topping the log not gone on to pick up the silverware.

Those exceptions were in 2000 itself, when the Brumbies headed the table but lost 20-19 in the Canberra final to the Crusaders, and the last occasion of 2007, when the Sharks won the round-robin phase but lost by exactly the same score-line in the Kings Park showpiece to South African rivals the Bulls.

Even then, the latter game will forever be remembered for the Sharks leading at the sounding of the fatally low-volume stadium hooter, only for Springbok wing Bryan Habana, then a Bulls player, to glide infield and steal the contest for the visitors with a last-gasp try.

But every other time in the past dozen years, the side winning the league phase - cashing in on the advantageous, home-staged knockout itinerary - has also claimed the full spoils.

Less comforting for the Bulls and Sharks, the other two SA teams to make this season’s finals series, is how overseas travel in the playoffs all too often proves statistically to be a bridge too far.

South African teams traditionally make a special hash of things in this period of the competition, with last year - the first of the new conference system - just another case in point.

The Sharks sneaked into the finals series at the late expense of the Bulls then, and quickly succumbed 36-8 to the Crusaders in a New Zealand-staged qualifier; this year it is the turn of the Bulls to play the ‘Saders in their own terrain (Saturday, 09:35 SA time) with the men from Durban tackling the defending champion Reds in Brisbane in the 11:40 kick-off slot.

You have to go as far back as 1996, the advent of the competition as the “Super 12”, for the last time a South African side won a knockout-stage game in Australasia, the semi-final in Brisbane where Natal beat the Queensland Reds 43-25.

The overall record is grim: 11 losses from 12 such knockout occasions for SA teams abroad.

This is the full list of those defeats:

2011 finals series qualifier: Crusaders 36 Sharks 8
2008 semi-final: Waratahs 28 Sharks 13
2006 semi-final: Crusaders 35 Bulls 15
2005 semi-final: Waratahs 23 Bulls 13
2004 semi-final: Crusaders 27 Stormers 16
2001 final: Brumbies 36 Sharks 6
2000 semi-final: Brumbies 28 Cats 5
1998 semi-final: Crusaders 36 Sharks 32
1997 semi-final: Blues 55 Natal 36
1996 semi-final: Blues 48 Northern Transvaal 11
1996 final: Blues 45 Sharks 21

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-15 23:51

    Interesting stats there. The Crusaders have always hammered the SA opposition in play-offs except in '98 when the Sharks got close. And only the Stormers in '04 managed to keep them below 30. Just. It's going to be a loooooong weekend for the Bulls.

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 03:32

      @greame. You can never write off any team in the top 6. But the Crusaders in Christchurch? Thinking the Bulls will win is more hope than belief. There is still a lot of rugby to play yes, but seeing the Stormers lift the cup is at least equal hope and belief.

  • johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 00:30

    Who are the Stormers?

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 03:36

      The log leaders. The team that beat the Bulls twice this year. The team that has a home semi-final next weekend. The team that won 14 games this season. Nog vra? Nie? OK, sit nou maar weer ou seun.

      johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 04:10

      @Chris Ja, terwyl jy nou ons statistikus op die blog is, hoeveel keer het die span wat jy nou reken 'n home semi het al afgerond en die kompetisie gewen? Net die antwoord asseblief, geen opstelletjies nie.

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 04:19

      As jy nie opstelle wil he nie, moet jy nie dom vrae vra nie. Wie is bo aan die log? Net die antwoord, nie opstelle oor dinge wat jare terug gebeur het nie asseblief.

      johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 05:05

      Soos ek gedink het, kannie die vragie antwoord nie. Of is dit WIL nie. (te skaam) Kom ons maak dit vir jou maklik vet seun. Hoeveel keer het die grootbek Stormers al die Superreeks gewen, is dit: a) Nul b) Geen c) Zero d) Zippo e) Al bogenoemde

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 06:06

      Kom ek maak dit vir jou makliker: Hoeveel keer het die Bulls die Stormers gewen hierdie jaar? Nul Zip Zero Geen ens.

      backstabber.adder - 2012-07-16 07:22

      Hoveel mediese grade het "Dr."Spies? a) Nul b) Geen c) Zero d) Zippo e) Al bogenoemde Heheheheheheh..

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 08:07

      @backstabber. Jy moenie so hard wees op Dr. Spiertjies nie. Hy het darem Biologie in Standard 10 deurgekom. Was dit die tweede of derde probeerslag, Dr?

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 23:33

      @dr. spiertjies. Hoekom nou so stil? Was dit nou jy wat jou valstanne ingesluk het toe jou Ford 'n speed-wabble vang op 60km/h?

  • matthys.debeer.5 - 2012-07-16 00:32

    The stormers will run out of the luck they had all season. But hey, if they stay lucky or play some good rugby and win; congrats

      Khumo Mashifane - 2012-07-16 00:43

      CONGRATS to the Minister of Home Affairs on being elected President of the AFRICAN UNION. VIVA

      johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 00:43

      @matthys They have used all their luck for the next decade and all their cheating ref decisions for the next 50 years. They will get hammered in the semis and be 17 years cupless

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 03:37

      @matthys. You make your own luck on the field.

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 03:38

      @Spiertjies. I can carry on about the poor ref decisions that handed the Bulls at least two of their three cups as well. But that won't change a thing. So what's your point?

      johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 04:12

      @Chrissie boy Name them please

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 04:19

      Why should I name them? It's in the past. It does not matter.

      johan.spies.18 - 2012-07-16 05:08

      Because you can't, Bulls well deserved winners of 3 Super trophies. 3 more than our ever vocal Stormers. (and why so vocal no one knows, zero cups in 16 years)

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 06:24

      @spiertjies. I can name them. If you want to dwell in the past, because that is the only place you live, then we will do so. 2007 final against the Sharks, a Bulls player was touching the touchline just prior to Habana's try at the end. The Sharks should have won. And I do not even want to get started on the 2010 final when the biggest Bull supporter, Craig Joubert, gifted the Bulls the title by being blatantly biased at the rucks and mauls - worse than Bryce Lawrence. Go watch those games again. I will give you the one against the Chiefs. No ref could have helped the Chiefs on that day. But you know what, the stats say the Bulls won those trophies. So well done to them. That is all a few years ago though. Do you want to move on to 2012 now because I'm already in 2012. The year the Stormers burried the Bulls twice and finished top of the log? Or is it too much of a bitter pill to swallow? Still suurgat because you lost? I don't care what happened before 2012.

      backstabber.adder - 2012-07-16 07:17

      Spiesie klim in sy Ford Escort XR3 en druk die sigaret button. Hy maak sy ogies toe. Woeps! - die Escort is nou 'n Aston Martin en die Blou Bulle wen S15 2012! You go Spiesie!!! Hehehehehe...

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 12:53

      @ graeme...SPEEDBOAT!

  • touacharl - 2012-07-16 06:58

    I never realized that winning the 2012 trophy is based on your past performances. Did anybody think , based on past performances, would have won the Currie Cup? So why can we not just support our local teams, congratulate the Stormers on fighting hard to get to the top. Stand behind the Bulls and Sharks this weekend and hope for a all SA final!

      Johann - 2012-07-16 10:56

      Jis Charlie, hier dop my ou stut-maatjie ook uit! Ek stem met jou, kom ons support die local ouens en hoop dat vanjaar die stormers se jaar is. Mooi gaan!

  • jean.rossouwsa - 2012-07-16 07:34

    Ok praat van "history", Stormers het nou weer hoeveel gewen? "History" se dat die Bulle 3 gewen het en ook dat dit volgens julle NIKS beteken nie!. So, "History" beteken iets wanneer JULLE so se, SHAME!

      Stirrer - 2012-07-16 10:01

      'n Wyse ou het gesê "Past prowess is no substitute for current shortcomings." Die konsep is seker moeilik om te verstaan vir iemand wie se helde George W Bush en Sarah Palin is.

      jean.rossouwsa - 2012-07-16 10:09

      Liberal asshooooooooooooole!

      Berto En Petra Mostert - 2012-07-16 12:42

      Het jy nie ore nie!? Julle tokkel dieselfde snaar oor en oor! Sies man - DOM!

  • frans.visserdsb - 2012-07-16 07:39

    In my opinion the Sharks will beat the Reds - if they play like they have played at times in the last two games. The Bulls... sorry, cannot see them beating the Crusaders. So the semi's will probably be Stormers - Sharks and Crusaders - Chiefs. My opinion - again, no more than my opinion, based on the form shown by the various sides over the last two weekends - the Crusaders should take it. If the Stormers beat the Sharks (which is a big if, but being a Stormer supporter, we live in hope). it would then be a Stormers/crusaders final in Cape town. However, if the Sharks win - which I am afraid to say would be quite possible - the Sharks would then have to travel back to NZ for the final... quite a daunting travel schedule.

      paul.sdoow - 2012-07-16 08:08

      best results would be stormer-bull final and then we can show them again . . who the biaaaatch now! cause i know at newlands it would be blue and white hoops no red crusade brigade which would force the bulls to play in pink so you already befor the match starts have entertainment value.

  • aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-16 07:55

    Chokei chokie chokie choke!!!

      ChrisinOz294 - 2012-07-16 08:26

      @aubrey. No I don't think the Bulls will choke this weekend. To choke means that they lose while a fairly large part of the population actually thought they would or should win. @dim.turdis. Is lose spelt right this time? Thanks bud.

  • hc12345 - 2012-07-16 08:03

    History says they have never won it!!

      japjapjap.wat - 2012-07-16 09:02

      yes @hc- and if we want to know something about the future, we have to search in the past/history. no cups there....stoomers, but but keep on dreaming- we enjoy stoomers??

  • Jacques - 2012-07-16 09:05

    The Stormers might have a bye this weekend, but next weekend it's their bye-bye weekend, I'm afraid... I'm a Bulls fan, but realistically, go Sharks! (I'll obviously be rooting for the Bulls, but I have a feeling their inexperience might be exposed over there)

  • malcolm.williams.127201 - 2012-07-16 09:33

    I have been reading the same comments week in and out almost 19 weeks. Stormers are still winning. Clearly us stormer supporters don't care about this article because we know history means jack. It comes down to the game day. Hence the few stormers comments. One thing I do know is for sure come next week semi finals I will use my friends bull jerseys to clean my braai grid. Good luck!!

  • reinie.brandt - 2012-07-16 09:48

    Amazing to see how many times the Sharks have made it to playoff stages and not won it. Very frustrating!

  • Marcus - 2012-07-16 09:54

    Is that Jean de Villiers or Piere Spies receiving the Conference Trophy ?? - oh, so Stomers have chocked ?? We're already the best in South Africa . Good luck Bulls agains the Crusaders --NOT !!! - hope you get murdered.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 09:57

      Chocked? Hope Jean de villiers and Juan de Jong and elstadt get paralyzed. That will make my year

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 12:57

      bud dont insult my broads bud, they may be rented but they cheaper that way. and i was raped by 2 women last night. was hectic. had to pay R10k for that though. top notch though boet. paid those broads to gtfo and slept like a dead person chaan

      orrinf8 - 2012-07-16 14:15

      tom VET-KOP - did Nick Mallet tell you how to do that, from the studio ?? what a tosser !!

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 15:48

      nick mallet is a tosser i agree but he only told me the stormers are going to win the trophy didnt teach me about women, cos he is a documented gay

  • david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-07-16 10:01

    Those stats are a little misleading. SA took a little while to get up to speed when the game went professional. It's really only since 2007 that we've been competitive. Compare the first 5 years from '96 and the last 5 years, NZ have gone from winning all 5 to only winning once in the past 5 years. NZ is still a classy rugby nation, the only difference is that the playing field is more even. The first 10 years of Super Rugby, let's be honest, were awful from an SA perspective. Since 2007, SA's away record has improved a lot. We have a great chance of having at least 2 sides in the semi's. Sharks have a good chance of beating the Reds. I'm less optimistic about the Bulls chances against the Crusaders but the outcome of that game is less certain than it would have been in the past. The Crusaders will add to their 7 titles but not at the rapid pace they have built their lead. The competition will be far more equal in future. Let's shelve our inferiority complex and back our guys. Let's go Sharks, Stormers and Bulls!!!

  • Jason - 2012-07-16 10:03

    There are two sides to a rugby game plan...attack and defense. Stormers are 1st on the log because they have found the balance between the two perfectly this season. They might not have played the attack side of this game plan perfectly this season but have pulled together well as a side when under pressure and defended brilliantly throughout the tournament and have WON the games which is all that counts. Tournaments are won with building a lead and defending that lead...something the Stormers have succeeded in doing 14 games out of 16. All the haters need to acknowledge that if they understand the game of rugby. Throwing insults out shows your lack of this and also shows you are bad sportsman if you can't congratulate the Stormers and their supporters on a record breaking far...

  • elizabeth.bothma.58 - 2012-07-16 10:11

    Vir al julle our suurg@tte - ek is bly daar is 3 S.A. spanne in die play-offs en semis, dis goed vir SA rugby. Hoop die Bulle en Sharks wen die naweek - dan het ons 'n all-South African final. Moenie so suur wees nie - gun die Stormers wat hul toekom!! Of ons nou net-net gewen het, en of ons gewen het met slegte spel - hoe se ou Naas "aan die einde van die dag is 'n wen 'n wen" STORMERS!!!

  • stompies.hattingh.5 - 2012-07-16 10:11

    What a lame heading - my first reaction was that, going with Stormers history they will again choke and not win the cup! But then, my first thought may not be that wrong!

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-16 10:26

      Praise be to stompies hattingh, salaam inshallah

  • Eddie.Minora - 2012-07-16 12:06

    Go Stormers Go Stormer Go Stormers!!!!

  • mark.polley.336 - 2012-07-16 21:27

    Go SA teams

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