Depth, Experience and Youth
Last season the ever underachieving Stormers finally had a season to remember by reaching the final of the Super14. Thats where it ended as we failed to perform when we needed to most and credit must go to the consistent BMT performances of the Bulls. But it was so refreshing to see the Cape Town team finally offer resistance and quality, this of course started with the signings of Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie, 2 world class Boks so changed the backline. Along with the emergence of Gio Aplon as a game breaker and the excitement and energy that Juan De Jong brought to the backline was incredible.
This season, with a year of experience under the belt with the same backline, along with Peter Grant who has returned from his time in Japan a much more composed and reliable flyhalf with a hugely improved all important kicking game. This said, the Stormers have only managed 1 try in 3 games. Not a great return but I promise you, its a long season and this team will put a number of teams to the sword. But lets focus on the wins, focus on the points gained and appreciate that you cant always win pretty, but a win is a win and lets be grateful. We have the quality and experience required to go far in the competition and I believe come the business end of the tournament we will be up there.
What is also really exciting is the youth on offer at WP on a whole. This is a direct effect of the Varsity Cup, a competition that grows each year it is played and I believe will play a huge part in the development of SA rugby youth and will benefit the nation for years to come. Looking at players like Juan De Jong and Tim Whitehead, both Stomers players who played in the Varsity Cup. Kyle Brown, the SA Sevens Captain, also a product of this fine competition. Then a player like Marcel Brache is definitely one for the future, a big powerful runner with ball in hand with that creative spark required to break the line.
The Stormers boast a squad of youth, with the likes of Danie Poolman and Rynhard Elstadt getting a good run in the team and experience, with Schalk, Bryan, Jaque, Jean and Andries all been there and done that. Andries in particular is the heir to the Victor/Bakkies throne, with the lock a constant thorn in opposition sides with his high work rate, hearty performances and option in the lineout is always missed when he is missing. I'd also like to see Conrad Jantjies recover from injury and have a consistent run in the team. He offers stability at the back and a good boot which is always useful for the team.
As mentioned, its a long season and our time to perform with quality will come. Alistair Coetzee is a great coach, who I believe will be the Bok coach one day, and with Rassie running things behind the scenes we have seen the WP outfit grow over the last few seasons, a direct effect of these people and their coaching and management staff. Looking forward to the Bulls clash on the weekend, should have some tries in it!