CAPE TOWN – There’s a saying that very eloquently describes a draw and the underwhelming feeling it leaves an athlete with. That saying makes it clear that a tie doesn’t count for much. It’s nothing special.
The Stormers’ 19-19 draw with the Crusaders, though, was a tad more meaningful. They didn’t just limit the damage at Newlands, they played more than their part in a proper Super Rugby contest.
Here are four things they got right, things they can certainly take some confidence from going into their match against the Highlanders at Newlands on Saturday (3.05pm).
Mix it up
The way the Stormers scored from one of their line-out variations was stunning. Their sole try came after they played the ball off the top, before Siya Kolisi hit a gap after a superb flat pass across the Crusaders’ defence from Josh Stander.
That whole move was tops, so let’s hope they can pull off more of the same this Saturday.
Hit them back
After the Crusaders match, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck made special mention of his team’s scramble defence. Overall it was a big defensive outing, and there were also some courageous individual efforts.
With the Highlanders in town, that superb scramble defence is going to have to make another appearance. After all, you just never know what Aaron Smith and co’s kicking can set up.
Assess and adapt
Captain Kolisi’s insistence to go for the three points and not for the corner was very important. The Crusaders did well to stop the Stormers’ maul and managed to turn over the ball a couple of times. And that’s what the Stormers should take from Kolisi’s decision; he knew what the situation had been at maul time, he knew how the Crusaders worked it, and he went against that option.
The fact that he assessed the situation and didn’t allow his team to play into the opposition’s hands is the big thing here. After the game, he also said he went for the points because he felt his team deserved something from the game.
The point is, they assessed and adapted, and that should be applied to other aspects as well this weekend.
Watch those fringes
Okay, this is more of a look-ahead than a review of Round 14, but it still applies... it’s not like the Stormers were caught napping in that area. We all know Smith’s potency around the fringes; his decision-making, reaction time and accuracy of execution make him one to constantly watch around the fringes... sometimes you just never know which step he’s going to take next.
The Stormers’ Herschel Jantjies has shown his quality in that regard as well, so while the Highlanders won’t be the only ones with a pocket rocket around those edges, the hosts will have to be wary of the one they’re going up against.@WynonaLouw