CAPE TOWN – Desperation can make a team a dangerous unit.
In many ways, the Stormers could be seen as a team that should be driven by that feeling, not just as they prepare to go into their Super Rugby crunch match against the Sharks at Newlands this Saturday, but it would also have been the case in the match they won 31-18 against the Sunwolves at the weekend.
Seeing as Robbie Fleck’s team need to win their game against the Durbanites - just like they had to secure a win against the Sunwolves - to secure a playoff position, it’s safe to assume that desperation will be high in the Cape camp. But motivation almost always accompanies desperation, and it’s something the Stormers didn’t fully exhibit against the Sunwolves.
They didn’t show that edge that one expects a desperate team to come at you with.
It never looked as if the Stormers would lose against the Sunwolves, but it was far from a perfect performance.
The Stormers’ injury situation is of course a factor, especially given the extent of the injuries to key players.
But as Fleck said after their win on Saturday - there’s no point in crying over spilt milk, and they just need to back the guys they do have available.
Against the Sunwolves, there were a number of chances to land the knockout punch, but the Stormers didn’t take it. And the fact that they went for the tee to go 11 points up instead of aiming for a try was also puzzling.
The Stormers needed to be lethal, but they weren’t. Against the Sharks, though, just doing the necessary or minimum won’t be enough, and no soft tries can sneak in.
Seeing as the Sharks will probably feel some travel fatigue after their Buenos Aires defeat to the Jaguares on Saturday night, the Stormers have a chance to amend their less-than-exemplary Newlands record against the Sharks. But that edge that they were missing against the Sunwolves will be key. After all, the game is almost a straight shootout.
So, while the Stormers’ main objective against the Sunwolves was to get the win, which they did, more will be required against the Sharks.
And a more lethal approach should give them the edge.@WynonaLouw