The good and the bad after the Stormers’ Rainbow Cup opener against the Sharks
CAPE TOWN – I can’t imagine that the Stormers camp would be filled with happy vibes at the moment.
After that 30-33 defeat to the Sharks in their Rainbow Cup SA opening game on Saturday, a game they could have won, it would be safe to assume that the review had no shortage of points to address.
It wasn’t all bad, though, in fact, there were some factors that came into play at Cape Town Stadium that the Stormers can be really chuffed with.
So, here are two positives followed by two negatives after their coastal clash with the Durbanites:
Pieter-Steph du Toit’s 80-minute run
Heading into the match, the Springbok loose forward’s comeback was one of the most anticipated features ahead of the Cape Town fixture. And for good reason…
The reigning World Rugby Player of the Year was an absolute superstar for the Boks during their last season of Test rugby, so his extended hiatus (which stretched over more than a year) was naturally a spell that every Bok fan couldn’t wait to end. He made his comeback in a starting berth for the Stormers at the weekend but, better yet, he was not only present on the team sheet (like that's ever the case), but he did well in a game that didn’t lack tempo. That alone is an hugely encouraging factor as the British & Irish Lions Series is drawing ever closer.
Boks on form
Where the performances of the Stormers’ Springbok players are concerned, there can be no complaints.
Du Toit was pleasing, scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies looked good (before he went off with a leg injury), Damian Willemse featured well, and the all-Bok front row of Steven Kitshoff, Scarra Ntubeni, (replacement) Bongi Mbonambi, and Frans Malherbe were outstanding. It bodes well not only for the set-piece dominant Stormers, but also, of course, for the national side ahead of the international season.
Two red cards, one yellow. Those five words should do enough to paint a decent-enough picture of the error expedition Saturday’s encounter turned out to be. As head coach John Dobson said after the game, it was woeful.
The Stormers had to play with 13 men at some key stages during the game, and it’s a pity, really, because the kind of rugby they tried to play was a pleasing display. But they ended up conceding 21 points and letting a 17-0 lead slip. So, guess noting more needs to be said on the discipline front.
The young flyhalf will spend the rest of the season recovering from the ACL tear he suffered during the defeat to the Durbanites, and given his talent, it’s no doubt a blow.
Not like there’s ever a time one would put ‘injury’ on their Christmas wish list, but the fact that he went well in his last few outings makes this injury even more unpalatable. It can be expected that this vacates the No 10 spot for Abner van Reenen, who has shown great promise in his spells with the team.