Upswing in mood at Stormers

2012-01-30 12:10

Johannesburg - A few weeks ago, when Rassie Erasmus departed as director of rugby, many DHL Stormers supporters would have feared the worst, but those negative feelings don’t appear to have been shared by the coaches and players.

On the day it was officially confirmed he would not be filling the Springbok coaching position many thought was his for the taking through much of last year, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee looked decidedly upbeat. And he looked that way for good reason.

Although it is early days, and there is still a month before the proper season kicks off, so far the performance of the team has not shown any signs of being affected by the off-the-field shenanigans rumoured to be diverting the Western Province union behind the scenes.

Coetzee is a good coach and while Erasmus was a strong member of the management and brought X-factor, the former Springbok assistant did go it alone for much of last year – and with considerable success. Being the first winner of the South African conference in Super Rugby and ending second on the log when injuries forced you to use five different flyhalves is nothing to scoff at, and neither was the achievement in the Currie Cup, where injuries and World Cup call-ups meant the team that made the semifinals was essentially an under-21 team.

Many of those youngsters are coming through now, and so are others who are the product of the succession planning that Erasmus was so good at. The 28-6 win over the Lions in the DHL Series game at Newlands on Friday saw some of those players shining, with flanker Siya Kolisi carrying on the promise showed in the last domestic season.

Perhaps the one to watch out for though is No4 lock Eben Etzebeth. Last year Rynhardt Elstadt, another youngster, bolted almost out of the blue – he had been a blindside flanker for most of his earlier career – to establish himself as an established and much feared second row partner for Andries Bekker who played the Bakkies Botha role in the Stormers engine room.

After playing the first two warm-up games of 2012, and having added to his already considerable bulk in his off-season conditioning, recent age-group player Etzebeth looks like he can easily do this season what Elstadt did last year. Admittedly it was a scrumhalf on the receiving end, but the way he drove back Michael Bandiseo several metres was frightening to behold, and several other Lions players were on the receiving end during the match.

Always careful not to build up players too much in front of a Cape media that he fears is too quick to make his team champions and his players Springboks, Coetzee was careful to choose his words when speaking about Etzebeth’s potential.

“Look guys, Eben Etzebeth is not a Springbok yet, not by any stretch of the imagination, but boy, I have been really pleased with his progress and the contribution he has made in these pre-season games and he has incredible potential,” said Coetzee.

“Last year we saw what impact Rynhardt (Elstadt) made at No4 lock and now we have a player who can back him up. We have depth there, in a very important area, and that is pleasing to me.”

It was too early to tell how much depth he has at flyhalf, which was where all the injuries happened last year, for Gary van Aswegen was playing his first game after a long injury lay-off. He dropped a few balls and did not put his stamp on the match, but then he was also playing behind a scrum that was on the back foot for much of the night.

Not that Coetzee or captain Schalk Burger were too concerned about the set-scrums, even though they were the Achilles heel last year and what saw them hit a dead-end in the semifinal against Crusaders.

“There has been a change of emphasis in the engagement at the scrums as per directive from the Sanzar referees,” said Coetzee.

“Instead of the engagement being initiated from the back, from the No8, we have now been instructed that it has to be initiated by the front row. This is a big adjustment that has to be made and we were only informed about it today.”

The Lions would have been pleased with their scrumming effort, nonetheless, and it partly off-set a horrible night at the lineouts, where the Stormers were dominant.

“For us it was just important to get a hit out,” said their coach John Mitchell. “We didn’t expect to be where the Stormers are as they have played one more game than us. That said, I was disappointed with our attack and there is some work to be done there.”

The Stormers play the Cheetahs in their next DHL Series game at Newlands on Saturday evening.


  • Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 12:15

    Mediocrity is king!!!

      Saffa - 2012-01-30 12:22

      All hail KING Spies then.....

      Saffa - 2012-01-30 12:29

      All hail KING Spies then.... (for the 2nd time...)

      Jason - 2012-01-30 12:42

      All hail Spies and HM

      Dawie - 2012-01-30 12:44

      Jou konstante pogings om reaksie uit te lok op ieder en elke Stormers berig is so duidelik n bevestiging van jou tekort aan aandag en in meeste gevalle seker ook die kennis van die sport, sportmansgees en vermoe om sinvol te redeneer - hopelik iets wat jy nou opgedoen het eerder as iets wat van kindsbeen af gekweek is nie (soort van groot sleg geword eerder as sleg groot geword. Jou voortydige kommentaar op alles verleen slegs aan een persoon die satisfaksie wat dit veronderstelk is om te genereer - net jy jouself of soos dit in jou woordeskat sal opduik - me myself I !!! Ploeter voort in jou onkunde want die Griekwas gaan julle weer opdonner die jaar maar heelwat vroeer as wat jy dink !!!!

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 12:52

      Dawie, wie't gevrek en jou die profiler gemaak? Terloops, watch jou taal asb. My kinders lees ook hierdie forums. Ek probeer n goeie voorbeeld stel.

      Kosie - 2012-01-30 12:59

      Dankie Dawie

      Graham - 2012-01-30 13:00

      Ye blueballdozer, I find your constant attempts at 'slimgatheid' irritating, as do many readers here.

      Dawie - 2012-01-30 13:04

      Ou beesblaas jou comments wat jy gereeld post grens aan "verbal diaree" en dit affekteer nie jou kinders nie - of het dit ? Net jy sal weet ?? O en as jou kinders dit ook lees skryf dan sense anders voel hulle dalk verplig om jou weg te stuur na n plek vir veilige bewaring - Sterkfontein !!!

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 13:10

      Thanks Graham. I really appreciate it.

      Jason - 2012-01-30 13:10

      Dudes dont be upset with the bulldozer, at his intellect it all sounds perfectly reasonable.

      Lionel - 2012-01-30 13:11

      Dozer,what a send off you are getting,you could not have asked for better hahahahahaahaha!!!!!!!!

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 13:24

      Gooinat, I'm overwhelmed. Holding back the tears.

      Saffa - 2012-01-30 13:25

      LOL @Lionel. Dozey is leaving with a blue bang.... all those thumbs up on Friday forgotten.....

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 13:34

      Saffa, last time I checked I had 400 thumbs up. Quite disappointing to be honest.

  • greatwight - 2012-01-30 12:16

    Players cant complain of too many games when Stormers look like they playing all Franchises in warm up games!

  • Saffa - 2012-01-30 12:17

    Eben Eben Eben - he was tutored by the best .....his family..... There are brilliant youngsters coming through in EVERY union, so while I am of course far more interested in the Stormers youngsters starting to hit their senior straps...I am also pretty excited to see all the potential countrwide in this is after all the dawning of a NEW era in Bok rugby, and all these youngsters have roles to play.

      pieterduplessis - 2012-01-30 12:43

      The Etzebeth's are Legan.....wait for it.......dary here in the Northern Suburbs of CT for all the right and wrong reasons. You never messed with the Etzebeth's. Hopefully this will continue on the rugby field!

  • Grant - 2012-01-30 12:35

    Stormers.....focus on getting those scrums sorted....Back foot ball makes rugby very difficult....A weak scrum does not Super 15 Champions make!!

  • Skhona Skratchy-l Luswazi - 2012-01-30 12:55

    Go stormers you beauty thang!!!!!

  • Etienne - 2012-01-30 13:05

    Life suddenly looks better without rassie. Worst investment in WP rugby was Rassie, even worse than habana.

      Jason - 2012-01-30 13:11

      Rassie is one thing but Habana is a different kettle of fish altogether.

      John - 2012-01-30 13:47

      Ja ou pal - you have no idea what has transpired (happened) in WP rugby in the last 2 years. Etzebeth eg is a product of Rassie's influence plus many others coming through the ranks.

      Chris - 2012-01-30 17:42

      @Etienne: Agree 100% with you. Rassie was sitting in his cozy office job getting all the cheer when things were going well and AC was getting all the flack when things were going wrong. No uncertainty about having to do with this very poular mentality of "white is always right". En @John: Waar kom jy aan hierdie ongelooflike brokkie insig dat Etzebeth 'n produk van Rassie se invloed is?!

  • Ruan Pretorius - 2012-01-30 13:15

    En daar wen die Stormers die S15 en die WP die Curriebeker alweer in Januarie! Goeie werk kerels!

      Dawie - 2012-01-30 13:26

      En jy my maat klink nog meer onnosel en oningelig as ou Beesblaas hierbo. Konsentreer en let op - "UPSWING IN MOOD AT STORMERS" - Niemand praat van iets wen nie. Die comments is gebasseer op een wedstryd en n moeilike laaste twee maande in die Stormers kamp na als wat daar gebeur het - Probeer jy ook onmin saai of is dit maar net n random stupid opmerking ??

      hvanderlinde - 2012-01-30 13:28

      Whatever dude, dit raak nou al afgesaag. Waar in hierdie hele forum of in die berig het enigiemand gese die Stormers gaan die S15 beker wen? Wou ook maar net 'n eiertjie le ne?

      Saffa - 2012-01-30 13:32

      Forgive Ruan for his nonsensical comments chaps. As you can see by his pic, he is having trouble with his girlfriend......

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 13:36

      Ruan, hulle is alewig in n goeie mood in Januarie. Daarna drop die gemoed so n bietjie elke maand.

      Shistirrer - 2012-01-30 14:16

      Well, as everybody knows, nothing in the article can be related to Ruan's comment. The only logical explanation is that this is his own conclusion after the Stormers performances the past two weekends. It's nice to see our neighbours from up north soiling themselves so early in the season :-)

      Wimpie - 2012-01-30 15:09

      @ SAFFA...LMGA !!!

  • John - 2012-01-30 13:42

    Matfield spoke about Etzebeth as being a youngster he rates very highly last year. Big boy who takes no prisoners.

      Bulldozer - 2012-01-30 13:46

      He might be a big boy, but he's not allowed to take prisoners if he's not a cop.

      Shistirrer - 2012-01-30 14:10

      Buldosie, ek het geweet daai comment is te ingewikkeld vir jou. Jy het seker die "big boy" ook misverstaan. Sjarrrup nou en gaan speel met jou Pierre Spies poster.

  • Paul - 2012-01-30 14:31

    Poster? Opblaaspop!

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