Stormers battle underdog tag

2011-05-19 08:47

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Auckland - If you look at where the changes have been made you might suggest the Stormers are up the creek without a paddle going into Friday’s must-win Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Blues, but that is not the way their coach Allister Coetzee sees it.

Youngsters Lionel Cronje, Juan de Jongh and Johann Sadie will line up next to each other from flyhalf to outside centre in what is definitely the most inexperienced Stormers back division to have played together since 2009. They are playing because flyhalf Peter Grant, inside centre Jean de Villiers and outside centre Jaque Fourie have all been ruled out with injury.

All of those players are Springboks, with De Villiers and Fourie being incumbent internationals and quite possibly the best midfield combination on the planet, so they are big players to lose, and the favourites tag will certainly shift to the Blues in their absence.

However, as Coetzee has pointed out to the Cape media, what the Stormers do have now is a unknown quality about them and Sadie in particular will have the Blues guessing as to his capabilities and playing style.

Although Sadie did play wing against the Crusaders and his straightening of the line did create the try that Fourie scored in that game, he has made only fleeting appearances as a replacement at his preferred position of outside centre, which is where he is lining up on Friday.

One of the star players in the Western Province Under-21 team that dominated the national competition in 2010, there have been a few questions asked about Sadie’s defensive game but there is no denying his awesome attacking potential and Coetzee seldom mentions his name without also talking about the X-factor.

“Juan and Johann are both exciting players, so it is a great opportunity for them, regardless of whether or not they have played together as a combination before,” said Coetzee.

“These are two good rugby players and I have full confidence in them. They are facing a quality centre combination in Luke McAlister and Jared Payne, but who knows what might happen. It could be important that no-one knows much about Johann Sadie at centre. They don’t know what he can bring to the party, and I am sure he is looking forward to the challenge. He may surprise a few people.”

That he certainly could, for Sadie is being spoken of in WP circles as a big part of the future plans in the region. And while De Jongh has spent much of the season on the bench, he was excellent in last year’s Super 14 and ended up playing international rugby, where he was considered one of the best newcomers.

While De Jongh doesn’t quite have his mojo yet, he has played some good cameos that have served as a reminder of what he is capable of, particularly when he came on as a replacement in the match against the Bulls at Loftus in March.

There is a perception in the Cape that De Jongh has lost form that is largely because of the poor decision making that has seen him butcher a couple of easy try-scoring opportunities. However, as a lot of those opportunities came through his own good work in either breaking the line or being in the right place at the right time in seizing on opposition mistakes, it could be argued that all he needs to do is cross the line once and his white-line fever will be behind him.

It is also fortunate for the Stormers that Cronje got to play almost three full games while Grant was absent through injury in the weeks following the loss to the Reds. He acquitted himself well in those games and while his goalkicking may not be as reliable as Grant’s he arguably does have better distribution skills.

So while the injuries mean the Stormers go into the match as underdogs, it’s not exactly as if they are going in on a wing and a prayer, and they might well be advised to take a look back at what happened to them when they played an under strength Crusaders team a few weeks ago if they are looking for encouragement.

If the Stormers can beat a full-strength Blues team in Auckland while they are under strength, it will be a significant boost to their confidence at a crucial stage of the season.


  • rugby_guru - 2011-05-19 08:55

    I'm sure the Stormers will give it their all... Will be a good game to watch never the less.. Good luck Stormers!

      evereadydude - 2011-05-19 09:19

      Waars al daai groot bek Stormers nou? 3 verlore in n ry!! Stormers gaan nie eers onder top 8 eindig nie!! Groot bek gewees voor julle toer ne?? Crusaders het julle met hul 2de span gewen!! haha

      mysticBoer - 2011-05-19 09:28

      @evereadydude - Ek is nie noodwendig grootbek nie, maar ek is hier! En as ek reg tel is dit 2 verlore in 'n ry, nie 3 nie - behalwe as jy iets weet van more se game wat die res van ons nie weet nie. As julle (ek neem aan jy is 'n Bull want jy praat soos een) kan wen teen die Sharks soos ons, dan praat ons weer.

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 09:38

      @Everdead,jys 'n p@ephol!!!!!!!!!

      evereadydude - 2011-05-19 09:41

      Mystic, dink jy regtig die stormers gaan more wen? Dit maak dit 3 in n ry!! Allister het my voor die toer begin het gese die stormers dink nie eers aan n wen teen die Blues nie. Soos jy kan aflei bly ek in slaapstad en n buurman van Allister, great ou by the way!

      Steyts - 2011-05-19 10:01

      @evereadydude - NIemand het gedink dis moontlik dat die cheetahs die crusaders gaan wen nie. Enige iets is moontlik.. JA, die stormers se kanse is skraal, maar dis nie te se ons het klaar verloor nie! Daar is baie om voor te speel en ek is seker die ouens sal op wees vir die game! Gaan 'n goeie een wees...

      Ed Bundy - 2011-05-19 10:44

      Hope the Stormers give them hell - the Blues are looking good but with two playmakers as centres the Stormers have a more than decent chance. Juan may not be as highly rated as Jean but he's just as good, and his Bok performance showed that. Cronje also played well so he's not really a downgrade. Sadie is the only real unknown, but they may decide to play a more forwards-based game. And BTW, please don't judge all Bulls supporters on what nevereadydude mumbled, he's clearly retarted.

      Stoutgat - 2011-05-19 12:11

      Well blow me down! After a couple of rare victories early in the season, you'd have sworn that the Super 15 trophy was already in the Newlands cabinet. And now, Stormers fans and Cape Town media?

  • Stormersfan - 2011-05-19 09:01

    nothing really to lose, underdog tag is always a good thing to have. stormers by 5

      Hybrid - 2011-05-19 09:50

      I must agree with you, all the pressure will be on the Blues as they are expected to win, this underdog tag will give the stormers more freedom to play their game. I'm really hoping for a Stormers win. Let us put these Kiwi's in there place and show them where not afraid of them. A perfect weekend will be a Stormers, Cheetahs, Lions and Bulls victory, Sorry Sharks I have to go for my side. Bulls Forever.

      Plato - 2011-05-19 11:07

      @ Hybrid - Totally agree with you.

      GraemeBB - 2011-05-19 11:29

      I actually dont agree with you. You have a lot to lose - each game matters. If the Stormers are serious about winning the S15, they will want to have a home semi to begin with. There is also a thing of their confidence abroad. So, it matters - underdog or not. Also note that if the Sharks win this weekend, they are going to be a real threat. The bonus points are going to haunt the Stormers now.

      Oukoos - 2011-05-19 12:36

      Hopenlik doen die Bulls ons 'n guns hierdie naweeek en wen die Sharks. Sorry Shark ondersteuners, niks persoonlik teen die Sharks nie.

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:35

      HA HA HA HA HA HA Blues by 25!

      Crusader Man - 2011-05-19 17:46

      @graeme BB If the Sharks win? common have faith in your team.. I actually don't rate the sharks that much.They havent won many games with the top teams... Bulls r starting to show some form. So i still rate them a top team.. Sharks will disapoint again i think.. best of luck

      Kleinboet - 2011-05-19 17:50

      Oukoos, as ons toekoms van 'n Bulls wen afhang, dan verloor ek met graagte! Ek dink die Stormers is mans genoeg om die konferensie te wen ongeag watter ander spanne wen of verloor. Kom, Sharkies, wen al speel julle meestal soos sardiens!

      GraemeBB - 2011-05-19 21:36

      @SaderMan: I am just saying what if. I also dont want to get ahead of myself. I prefer to be quietly confident. I see your boys are up against a Chiefs side that just doesnt want to die. Another good one to watch. Saders should be good - I hope so, my Superbru depends on it!

      Anthony - 2011-05-20 12:56


  • KingSmurf - 2011-05-19 09:06

    Hierdie gaan 'n harde game wees. Ek worry nie eintlik oor Cronje wat oorvat by Grant nier, dink hy pass buitendien beter as Grant! DeJong moet ook net leer om te pass as hy klaar die lyn gebreek het.

  • GHT - 2011-05-19 09:06

    Sucks that I have to work. Hope we can pull this off! Seems like I have to support the Bulls this weekend so that the Stormers can remain top of SA conference even if we lose. Go Stormers!

  • Raka13 - 2011-05-19 09:15

    Strange that Allister plays 3 youngsters in the midfield, with SLLLOOOOOWWWW poke Januarie. The will be under tremendous pressure on Friday, hopefuly Duvenhage comes on the field within the first 20minutes. If Habana don't bring some brilliance to the party in the firsthalf, they should replace him with Nick Koster.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-19 09:35

      @Raka13 - Dewald will be covering the 9 and 10 position from the bench. While I am a Koster for 8th man groupie, I have no worries at all with him covering the backline positions (he truly can play anywhere - maybe to his detriment in terms of rugby career) Tomm will all boil down to what our forwards do. Sadly, I think our 'pretty weak' rotation policy thus far might be coming back to bite us (Louw, Bekker, Duane etc). I know that Bekker and Vermeulen didn't train on Monday - due to their exhaustion. BUT: I have no doubt the boys will be up for tomm's game, come what may.

      kurtvs - 2011-05-19 11:45

      Januarie played much better then Duvenhage last week and should never have been replaced? Maybe you should stop watching rugby with those racist eyes.

      Igenatius - 2011-05-19 12:41

      @ kutvs - Shut up! It's getting so old boet.

      Oukoos - 2011-05-19 12:50

      @KURTVS, you are not only stupid; you also have a huge chip on your shoulder. The critique against Januarie has nothing to do with race. He is just not any good. Last weekend I lost count of the number of times Januarie aimlessly kicked the ball up field, resulting in turnaround possession and the Stormers being on the defence. However, it is true that Duvenhage did not do any better. Both #9’s tactical kicking is not on par. The Stormers urgently need a scrumhalf of quality. January is not the answer and will never be.

      Howzitekse - 2011-05-19 17:53

      Ricky is much better than Duvenhage. I have full confidence that he will be good against the Blues. He was fit fast and strong last week, and fully deserves to start again. If he has a bad game, I will be the first to put him down, but don't hold your breath.

  • WPBEFONK - 2011-05-19 09:15

    Let's give it our best, our PACK is still the same as in other games. Stormers by 12 !!!!!

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:31

      And Elvis is still alive.

      Jan - 2011-05-19 17:37

      I totaly agree with you, the Stormers can pull this one off. If the newcomers can show up for the game, it is going to put pressure on JDV(my favourite centre in the world), JF and PG. Go stormers, by 8

  • MrMojoRising - 2011-05-19 09:18

    Not going to be easy . . . but lets hope for the best!

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:31

      It's gonna be very easy, Blues by 25!

  • Anneleen - 2011-05-19 09:20

    Underdog can become Topdog!! Good luck Stormers!!

      kosie - 2011-05-19 16:13

      miss lady rugga

      Anneleen - 2011-05-20 08:22

      Good morning, Kosie...enjoy your games!

  • Hybrid - 2011-05-19 09:22

    These guys are a talented bunch of youngsters but I believe they might just have a difficult night. Who knows maybe this combination just click on the night, it still will be a close game but I think the Blues might just shade by 3 Point. Good luck Stormers.

      ARRA - 2011-05-19 11:42

      Hybrid-I also hope these youngsters perform well -Jean/fourie combination much overrated-just emagine the two Stefan s from the Bulls (Watermeier/Dippenaar) plus these two Stormer youngsters at centre ,then I recon SA are safe in the midfield for years to come ,add the twin brothers from the Cheetahs and Im happy

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-19 09:26

    Dewald Duvenage will be on the bench BECAUSE he has to cover the flyhalf position should something happen to Lionel C. Yes, it would seem all the odds are against the Stormers, but stranger things have happened. I am certain the youngsters will be up for whatever is thrown their way. I have NO doubt, they will give their best - and that is ALL most fans ask for. GO THE STORMERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS: Evereadydude - how about you focus on the Bulls/Sharks game mate? Surely that should concern you more than the Stormers youngsters? Or am I missing something?

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-05-19 10:02

      Wow, Cronje / De Jongh / Sadie... I for one am very excited about this one. If only we could have had Duvenhage at 9.

      Marius Swart - 2011-05-19 17:45

      @Saffa- Cat .As Blou bul wens ek ons het so bietjie nuwe manne al probeer hierdie jaar.Hierdie veranderinge is dalk nou weens beserings maar daar het die Loins gewys dat enige span kan wen as iemand jou afskryf en al bring jy nuwe gesigte in.Al wat my pla is die feit dat HJ op 9 is aangesien hy dalk druk op die agterlyn kan plaas as hy nie goed speel nie en die kanse daarvan is goed.Sterkte in elk geval julle gaan dit nodig he en die Bulle op Kingspark gaan ook taai wees vir ons.

  • gooinat - 2011-05-19 09:27

    The thing that concerns me is the goal kicking with Cronje!!!!!,Sadie and de Jongh very interesting combination,will they be able to contain the Blues centers???,I think so,Good luck Boys!!!!!

      Marcell - 2011-05-19 11:12

      The thing that concerns me the most is that the stompies think that they can win the Blues. Don't they learn? Blues by 18.

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 11:19

      Its not win the Blues Dumbbell,its beat the Blues,how long you living in Melbourne and you still can't speak properly.Back to the rugby,we BEAT them last year at Eden Park and we can BEAT them again this year,sure its not our strongest side but we will give them a go,please take note of the word Beat,thats how you spell it and pronounce it!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Marcell - 2011-05-19 11:36

      Thank you for the correction. I'm multityping and the DA winning and Blues beating.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-19 11:42

      @Marcell - you live in Melbourne, why on earth would the DA's success in the Western Cape thus far concern you in any way? An honest question.

      Marcell - 2011-05-19 11:53

      SAFFA-CAT: I'm a South African staying in Melbourne. I'm not only looking at the DA's success in the Western Cape but also in the rest of the country. Believe it or not, but I would like to see the country becoming a safer/better place for all as my family are still there.

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 12:27

      @Marcell,please don't ever think of coming back,if you do decide to, make sure you go to Tswane we don't want you here in the Fairest Cape where the DA will once again rule.

      Marx - 2011-05-19 13:11

      Gooinat, miskien moet jy terug Nigeria toe waar jy hoort.......Marcell, jy's altyd welkom pêl....

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 13:56

      @Marx,sorry to dissapoint you buddy,I'm a proudly Capetonian Stormers supporter,born and bred here,speaking of Nigeria,is that not where your Father comes from?????

  • MaestroX - 2011-05-19 09:51

    Hmmmm, personally I think we should have played all our reserves and given our top guys a rest and simply conceded the game in a way. I just can't see us beating the Blues with so many changes, yes individually the replacements are all good players but this is the Blues team, in NZ without our 3 senior players in the most pivotal position in the game. Throw Januarie into the picture and it’s even worse. I will am still hopeful for a good result but am now less far less so than i was at the beginning of the week. We will just have to get 10 points from our last two games and then hope all our players are back for the games in SA! The Bulls and Cheetahs and not going to be easy games at all. Right now it looks like we may have to accept at best a 3-6 position, our chances of a 1-2 are gone, as are they for the Bulls and Sharks as well.

      Hybrid - 2011-05-19 10:06

      It's one of those catch 22 situation. Do they choose a second string side and throw away any chance for a home semi or do you choose the strongest possible team you have available and believe you can win. I don't believe we will be seeing much rotation from any teams for the rest of the comp.

      rugby_guru - 2011-05-19 10:12

      Hey bro, not much you can do about it, your coach is pretty clued up so give him a fair chance and lets see after the game what happens :) On a competitive point of view I hope you lose and I hope we beat the bulls, but hey i'm sure you hope we lose and you win :) Bottom line is we will have to wait and see.. Any of the games can go either way.

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 10:23

      @Guru,to be quite honest if the Stormers win,I would really like Sharks/ Bulls game to be a draw with no bonus points for 4 tries for either side,if we lose then I would go for a Bulls win only to help my Stormers team,good luck for Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kok - 2011-05-19 10:10

    Until Week 11, the stormers were the top dogs. Now, they're the underdogs. What happened? Arrogance always comes before the fall.

      Jan - 2011-05-19 17:42

      Jou gat

  • Kevin - 2011-05-19 10:32

    The Stormers will lose . The Sharks will have an easy win and go to the top of the South African log. The Bulls will go home to develop a strategy to not finish behind the Lions.

      JR - 2011-05-19 11:08

      You are not allowed to smoke that stuff! Go back to mommy and ask for advice on how to fix your problems.

  • Coenza - 2011-05-19 10:34

    Stormers by 5

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 10:36

      Like the way you think my friend:)

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:10

      @Coenza And Paris Pielton is a virgin

      gooinat - 2011-05-19 16:18

      @Pielseer,en jy's 'n d@@s

      Jan - 2011-05-19 17:43

      Ek stem

  • The_Fox - 2011-05-19 10:43

    Difficult game to call but I think my beloved Stormers are in for a long day at the office due to a very inexperienced centre pairing. What happened to Paul Bosch? Has he fallen out of favour/injured?

  • ARRA - 2011-05-19 11:27

    best centre combination on the planet -by which standards

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-19 11:44

      @Arra - wellllllllllll, when you compare Jean and Jaque to ANYTHING else on offer in SA they are the best. In fact, even our so-called 2nd choice centre combo probably have more potential than any other combo currently running out for other SA unions. Dankie.

      kurtvs - 2011-05-19 11:48


      ARRA - 2011-05-19 12:34

      I have seen finals last year that indicate to the contrary(saffa)

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-05-19 13:02

      @Arra - De Villiers and Fourie = the Bok centres = bar injury = end of. Provincial and International are 2 totally different parties old Arra (as Meisiekind and his woeful Bok perfomances over the years will tell you)

      Marx - 2011-05-19 13:07

      Miskien Mars.......

      ARRA - 2011-05-19 13:43

      I rest my case

  • kurtvs - 2011-05-19 11:42

    Blues by 20

  • HugoG - 2011-05-19 13:01

    McCaw is n grap.Dis net dowwe Kevin wat hom bewonder.Brussow is sy dood.

  • The Goose - 2011-05-19 13:21

    The Stormers never really lacked in the centre dept. They always had great players since the super 12.Andy Marinos, Fleck to name a few. De Jongh and Sadie will be their hearts out and its up to Scalk and the the wings to support that defence line incase something goes wrong.Lionel Cronje plays well and knows what it is to win. All they need a a magic moment like last weeks Aplon try to spark momentum.The backline still has 4 springboks in it though.My prediction is that the game will be tight because if anything goes pearshaped, the stormers will go into defence mode and we all know how good they are at that.If they add the necessarry pressure , they can force penelties and let Lionel do his thing.Scalk better improve on his decision making as captain....

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:21

      @ The Goose ( the IQ deprived one) Listen fool, are your mom and dad brother and sister as well?? The Stormers with their idiotic arrogant attitudes has no chance in hell! Blues by 15-20

      The Goose - 2011-05-20 08:56

      Shame.It must of taken you a lot of heart and courage to come and slander some true Stormers supporters.Let me guess, when the RWC is on the go, you will support only the bulls players in the SA team? Or have i insulted your rugby intelligence? All of this IQ talk is wont get a true supporter down.You should know that.The game is about to start soon so have a look and enjoy my friend.I hope you dont live up to your avatar's name(for those of you who do not know what a "plesierspier" is in english, its a "Dick".I greet you in the name of rugby sir!

  • Spindoc - 2011-05-19 14:08

    ..stormers really need a fullback that can attack the gain often Jantjes has kicked away pocession and his tactical positioning is becoming a liability.He is just not the player he was before his injury!!!

      Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:18

      @Spindoc Stick to the Afrikaans my friend, your English is atrosis, attrocious, atrrocshsis, sorry atrocious.

  • Plesierspier - 2011-05-19 15:15

    If i can have only one wish, pick between a Bulls win or a Stormers loss this weekend I think I'll pick the Stormers loss. I mean I love the Bulls and am confident that they will take the cup for the 4th time (in 5 years). But nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing the JOKERS OF WORLD RUGBY getting their arrogant bigmouths shut-up week in and week out. GO BLUES GO GO GO

      Oukoos - 2011-05-19 16:25

      PLESIERSPIER, jy spook tog so hard om aandag te kry. Nou sê vir ons ou seun, wie is die arrogante Stormers waarvan jy melding maak? Noem name asook voorbeelde van hierdie beweerde arrogansie

      Jan - 2011-05-19 17:48

      Jou plesier spier is seker useless, daarom dat jy tyd het om so baie stront(leesKAK) te praat. Gelukkig is nie alle Bull ondersteuners so deur die kak soos jy nie

      Peester - 2011-05-19 20:40

      @Oudoos Idiote soos jy, Mike@CapeT, Cliffie, Jan, Whatever, Watalife, Kleinboet etc sowel as duisende breindood, tandlose Stormers wat elke jaar in Maart vir jou vertel hoe briljant julle is, hoe die hele Springbokspan uit Stormers moet bestaan, hoe julle als uit julle pad gaan vee en dan die grap van wereldrugby is kom seisoen einde. Spelers soos Duane, Tiaan, J.Fourie,Jantjies om nie eers 'n klomp van die verlede te noem nie (Fleck) wat so windgat en onbeskof is dat jy rerig wonder. En dan die beste is daai goed is so onnosel so onnosel ek weet nie of hulle hulle eie skoene kan vasmaak nie.

  • Bullsboy - 2011-05-19 17:07

    Ek is n Bul ondersteuner maar sal altyd n ander SA span teen NZ of die Ausies ondersteun. Ek is meer bekommerd oor Januarie as oor die jong ouens in die backline.SA spanne hou daarvan om die underdog te wees, vra die Cheetahs en die Leeus so ek sien nie waarom die Stormers nie n kan wen nie. Sterkte vir die Stormers ondersteuners en onthou asb dat alle Bul ondersteuners nie oogklappe dra nie. Julle speel goeie rugby die jaar en het tot nou toe verdien om bo op ons log te wees. Passop vir ons as ons Kaap toe kom.

      Jan - 2011-05-19 17:51

      Bullsboy, jy ken en mag maar kommentaar lewer. Ek ondesteun ook alle SA spanne as hulle teen NZ/AUS spanne speel, en ek weet my STormers gaan in wees vir 'n harde game teen die Bulle. Go Stormers, onthou net die gpoeie oorwinning onder Bob Skinstad teen die Blues, met hulle koning Carlos en al, op hulle tuisveld, en gaan maak laas week se glips reg.

  • desmond.bissell - 2011-05-19 17:30

    evereadydude mens kan hoor wat jy weet van rugby is gevaarlik, dis 2 verlore en nie 3 en dis n suid-afrikaanse span op toer in nz, wa's jou trots p!@#$h@!#$!!! ons vir jou stormers

  • BardofAvon - 2011-05-19 18:53

    The Stormers are starting to remind me of the Chokeas and the All Blacks. Demolish everybody in sight until it comes to the crunch.

  • Ruan - 2011-05-19 19:17

    Good luck Stormers ! We hope you not on tilt....

  • ssrabits - 2011-05-20 10:27

    Stormers will win because Stephen Brett is playing. He is the dumbest no. 10 in world rugby at the moment. Him and Donald are like long lost borthers

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