Not playing Sharks is ’unfortunate’ but Stormers will start planning for next match
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CAPE TOWN - Control the controllables.
That is the approach the Stormers are taking after their final Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Sharks has been cancelled following positive Covid-19 tests among the Sharks’ tighthead props.
The Stormers and Sharks, both on 17 points, would have had a chance to compete for the trophy had their game not been affected - if the Bulls’ match against the Pumas was cancelled (or if the Bulls were to lose the game that has now been moved from Friday to Saturday), the winner of the Kings Park clash would have claimed the inaugural title.
But now the Bulls have been decided champions well before the weekend.
While Jake White’s unit have shown the best form in the competition, the Stormers surely can feel frustrated, especially seeing as they had just started getting momentum with two good wins over Griquas and the Cheetahs and the fact that they have presented a clean bill of health where Covid-19 is concerned since the very start of the competition.
The only two related cases they’ve had was when Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni had to self-isolate after coming into contact with a Lions player that tested positive after their opener.
But all they can do now is focus on their Currie Cup match against the Bulls next weekend, Stormers attack coach Dawie Snyman said yesterday.
“I felt that we started getting momentum as a team and if you keep playing as a team and you keep playing as a unit, you’ll get better,” Snyman said.
“But it’s out of our control. All we can do now is finish off what we had planned for this week and start preparing for next week.
“It’s really unfortunate, I feel for the team that wants to play.”
The Stormers - who will be playing as Western Province in the Currie Cup - will have a chance at revenge when they meet the Bulls at Newlands next weekend after taking a 39-6 beating at Loftus earlier in this competition.
It will also be the last time they face their old foes as WP at Newlands in the premier domestic competition (unless they meet in the play-offs in January).
“It’s going to be a big game - it’s Western Province’s last game at Newlands against the Bulls. We need to make sure that we take a step forward every single time we get into the training field and the playing field,” Snyman said.
“The game against the Bulls is important to us, but it’s also about our long-term development with an eye on the semi-final and final next year.”
Fullback Warrick Gelant, who has consistently been one of the Stormers’ top performers, added: “I think it’s a very tough situation. Here in the Cape we try very hard to remain disciplined so that we can play rugby every weekend.
“Some of the guys stay with their parents so if we’re not careful it’s not just our teammates that we are putting at risk, this virus is huge and for us to be disciplined...it’s much bigger than just rugby.
“Our families know they also have to be careful and it’s very difficult to manage this, but we’ve been getting it right and our results (having had no positive cases during the competition) have shown that.”