Stormers coach gave Juarno Augustus big hug after ’Fleck’ moment at Loftus
CAPE TOWN - There were just about 83 minutes gone on the clock when Scarra Ntubeni fed the Stormers lineout for one last time in the thriller against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
Head coach for the week, Labeeb Levy, was in an understandably pensive mood, judging from a camera shot just moments before.
His Stormers team had come to the Bulls kraal and taken them head-on, and his band of youngsters were on the verge of pulling off an unforgettable victory over the old enemy – even though it was essentially a pre-season game.
And then the winning moment came … or so Levy and the Stormers thought. JD Schickerling duly claimed the lineout throw, and despite the inevitable maul being stopped in its tracks by the Bulls, Herschel Jantjies quickly fed a charging Juarno Augustus.
The former World Rugby Under-20 Player of the Year showed that he is more than just a wrecking ball as he smartly stepped past a wrong-footed Cornal Hendricks. All he had to do was put the ball down, but instead, the big No 8 ran a few more unnecessary steps over the tryline, and then put in a dive – with Bulls replacement Diego Appollis also desperately trying to put pressure on him.
The unthinkable had happened, though: Augustus lost control of the ball as he attempted to place it. Referee AJ Jacobs immediately awarded the try, but after a few protests from the Bulls, he referred the incident to the TMO, Marius van der Westhuizen.
It doesn't get more dramatic than an 84th minute knock on in the opponents in-goal area which would have won your team the game. Juarno Augustus and the Stormers won't want to see this again 🙆♂️ pic.twitter.com/yUxm6B7Wfg— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 20, 2021
But Jacobs needn’t have – the look on Augustus’ face said it all. Instead of the Stormers lining up a match-winning conversion, the Bulls had won 34-29.
“Yassis! I gave old ‘Trokkie’ a hug, and I told him you take the good with the bad, and you die with your boots on,” Levy said afterwards when asked how the 23-year-old loose forward was doing.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened – it’s happened to Jeff Wilson, it’s happened to Robbie Fleck. It’s something I’m definitely going to remember when I sit as a 65 or 80 year old around the fire, and just reminisce about what could have been – or what should have been!
“But I think it’s important for us as coaches to give him support, because he’s young, and he has also stepped up. And he had one of his better performances compared to previous matches.”