As a Stormers fan it was a frustrating game to watch, as I’m sure it was for the Stormers to play. There were a lot of positives that the Stormers can take out of the game though, despite the loss.
1) This isn’t 2011
The Stormers of 2011 with the loss of 2 front-line forwards was the team entering the semi-finals last year that was shut out by the Crusaders. We were in this game till the 65th minute when Elstadt was binned, after that it was damage reduction and keeping the Crusaders in sight for the bonus point.
2)The midfield combo of de Villiers and de Jongh are starting to find each other
Not in the sense of running towards each other in slo-mo in a field of flowers, but operating as a unit both defensively and offensively. De Villiers pressure on Carter and de Jongh’s follow up led to the try. This is great news as it was has been sorely lacking in the midfield in terms of offensive effectiveness.
3) Habana is back
Truth be told his class was always there, it was just the form that was deserting him. He’s now passed all the milestones that were hanging around his neck – most test tries by a Bok, most S15 tries by a Saffa. He’s got them all now and he still has the top line speed to get the “jet shoes” comment from the Clarkie.
4) Pieterson is back too
I’ve got to admit that I’ve not been a fan Joe, but he keeps on proving me wrong with all his play. It’s a tall ask to field one back in a professional rugby union back-line under 6′, but two? Sheer madness. Pieterson and Aplon prove me wrong every time.
5) Vermeulen will stop anything in his path and push it back for the full 80 minutes every week
forwards, backs, cars, trains. Everything. This guy is a big reason that the 2011 Stormers had the steel up front. Add Etzebeth and Kitshoff to this mix and nothing is getting through.
Let’s end the article with a tiny whinge: How can the New Zealanders regularly turn out the best players coached by the best coaches and yet consistently turn out the worst referees. Everyone who watched the game agrees that Chris Pollock was terrible. Both yellow cards were not yellows. “Advantage over, oh! ball out on the full, advantage stands”. What.the.fuck? Hopefully he joins Bryce in the home for retired rugby union refs soon.