The good, the bad and the sweet of the Stormers Super Rugby campaign
CAPE TOWN - Nobody would have wanted the Super Rugby Unlocked competition to end the way it did (or the way it’s going to).
While the Bulls and the Pumas will face off at Loftus at 2pm on Saturday, the Bulls have already claimed the title as a result of the Stormers-Sharks game being called off due to positive Covid-19 cases in the Sharks camp.
Even if the Bulls lose their encounter by a mile, they will still be named Super Rugby Unlocked champions. The Stormers, on the other hand, can now only reflect and start preparing for the Currie Cup, the competition they’ve been targeting from the start of the domestic season.
Here is one major thing I think the Stormers got right and one they got wrong in their Super Rugby Unlocked run.
What the Stormers did right:
A number of youngsters have come through during the Super Rugby Unlocked competition, with the likes of David Meihuizen, Nama Xaba. Marcel Theunissen, Neethling Fouche, Angelo Davids, Ben-Jason Dixon, Kade Wolhuter and Sazi Sandi all making appearances for the Stormers. Granted, the injury situation John Dobson’s side have faced, especially among the loose forwards, forced the coach’s hand at times, as guys like Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph and Johan du Toit were all unavailable due to injury.
Still, though, the game time, exposure and experience they’ve got was a major positive regardless, even though some of them also got added to the injury list after a limited number of appearances (like Xaba and Meihuizen).
Another positive worth a mention: They scored some sweet tries
Getting their attack going is something that has been a big focus for the Stormers, and at the start of the competition, it was an ever-evasive goal. But the men in blue and white have since put together some good attacking plays, created opportunities and converted some of those nicely-created chances into points.
What the Stormers did wrong:
Started too slowly
The Stormers’ first three games, especially the one against the Bulls at Loftus, were rather forgettable. Their performance against the Lions in their opener wasn’t majorly convincing and the game could have gone either way. Their win against the Pumas was one the Nelspruit side were certainly allowed to feel aggrieved by, and their afternoon at Loftus was a disaster.
Until then they had shown promising signs here and there, but against Griquas in their fourth match, their performances started to take shape and they looked much better. That solid form carried over into the Newlands game against the Cheetahs, where the Stormers again scored some top tries and conceded just one (freakish) try. It’s not like any team ever plans to start poorly, but the Stormers now surely have every bit of motivation they need to get their Currie Cup campaign off to a good start, especially in times where anything can happen (like games being cancelled) and nothing is certain.
After all, the Stormers could have been in a very different position had they celebrated in Pretoria.