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No longer winning ugly March 21, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Uncategorized.
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For their first 3 games of the Super 15 season, the Stormers seemed to labour unexpectedly. The attacks lacked creativity, the setpieces looked disjointed, & even with all the experience on the field, there was glaringly obvious leadership void. Yes, 2 of those opening games were against South African franchises, and the defensive patterns were equal to last season’s pedigree, but it just seemed that there was something amiss.

The most promising aspect of these games were that the Stormers – even when playing rotten rugby – have learnt to guts it out and win ugly. In truth, that attribute will serve them well in the 8 local derbies they will play in the new format.

Last night though, against the Bulls, at “Fortress” Loftus, we saw an evolved Stormers side effectively dismantle the reigning champions through the next level of winning ugly; uncompromising discipline.

Maybe it was a good thing that this game was played in Pretoria in the rain, the 2 biggest mental blocks the Stormers have had of late. Teams of old would have capitulated before the opening whistle, & the Faithful (I just love that fan nickname!) would have rambled on about we’d get them next time. This time, things were different.

The defense was rock solid. That can only come from discipline, & trusting the guy next to you. And for the first time this season, the attack gained momentum. Peter Grant gave Morne Steyn a lesson in creative attack, & Bryan Habana, returning to his old home ground, finally got rewarded for his tireless efforts to regain form. The measure of the backing his team has given him wS clear when even the waterboy joined the celebrations after he scored.

And what a performance by that pack! Gone are the days of being derided as spineless, the tight five pushed the home team(vitually all of them incumbent Springboks) of their own ball in not 1, but 2 scrums! The loosies, without Schalk, showed the rest of the teams how to steal ball at will.

And Dewalt Duvenhage, the link holding the game together, throughoughly deserved his Man of the match award.

Yes there is much more work to be done. There are a lot of dangerous teams lying in wait. The Crusaders are looking their ominous selves, while the Waratahs will be hurting after their shock loss to the Cheetahs (of all teams).

But one thing is certain; the Stormers passed their first real test with Aplon(couldn’t help that!). Let’s hope they keep it going…

Laat dit rol, Stormers!!!

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