Stormers blown away in URC quarters

The Stormers’ Evan Roos was selected in the Springbok 35-man squad to prepare for Wales in a fortnight’s time. | BackpagePix

The Stormers’ Evan Roos was selected in the Springbok 35-man squad to prepare for Wales in a fortnight’s time. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 10, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The Stormers’ inability to adjust as well as the Glasgow Warriors did against the wind, and some staggering calls against them by referee Chris Busby, proved their undoing in the United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final this past weekend.

A late blitzkrieg of tries against them when they were chasing the game saw them lose 27-10 in the knockout match at a windy and wet Scotstoun Stadium. It is the first time that the Stormers do not make it past the quarters.

With the score 13-10, and with the wind at their backs, head coach John Dobson felt his side were still in the game, but errors stopped them from overhauling the Warriors.

“I am disappointed because I felt with the wind behind us at 13-10 we could’ve closed it out. But a staggering scrum (penalty) against us and they got on top of us. In these conditions, you need to be really good at playing against the wind.

“We didn’t kick particularly well. We also didn’t play particularly well with the wind, which is always a challenge. But you can’t fault our physical effort and staying in the fight.

“It did not feel like a 27-10 game, but at the end we were chasing (the game).”

Flyhalf Manie Libbok missed four attempts at goal off the tee, and although the Stormers did change the kickers and bring Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu in, the youngster started cramping around the 45-minute mark and had to be subbed off.

After they scored two well-worked tries in the time captain Salmaan Moerat was in the sin bin for a head clash in a tackle, the Cape side should have kicked on.

While Moerat’s yellow was the correct call, the head contact in the air on Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant by Glasgow captain Kyle Steyn early in the game, that only resulted in a penalty, did not sit well with the inaugural URC champions.

“We were absolutely perplexed by the game. We will be having some discussions with Tappe (Henning, URC head of referees) about that. It was disappointing.

“I don't want to sound like a sore loser, but Frans Malherbe was standing on the sidelines and said he never saw a penalty like that. And that is the scrum penalty that eventually led to their try, which got them away. That was a big call.

“But we were quite poor in attack with one-off runners, and we lacked another receiver outside of Manie. The forwards didn’t carry as well as we would’ve liked into the wind. It didn’t look like we would penetrate so credit to Glasgow’s defence.”

The Stormers will look back on a season where they’ve blown more cold than hot, but it’s not all doom and gloom. They’ve struggled with injuries and absent Springboks, and the loss of key players Evan Roos, Damian Willems and Deon Fourie was noticeable on Saturday.