So, four points for a win for the Stormers against the Reds this past Saturday but far from convincing. I stated in my previous post that the Stormers were only able to score tries from a rolling maul, but they proved on Saturday that, if they were allowed to, they could score from anywhere with the calibre of players they have in their backline.
And it all started with Elton Jantjies! A deft little cross kick was caught by Bryan Habana who then offloaded to Joe Pietersen, who then drew Quade Cooper and sent Jean de Villiers tearing away down the left to dot down, in what proved to be the difference between the two sides at the final whistle.
Jantjies probably had his best game of the season, and perhaps has now found his head and been able to concentrate on rugby after the passing of his father four months ago. Jantjies, when playing for the Lions, showed what a talented flyhalf he can be. And he showed touches of that talent on Saturday.
The fact that the Stormers beat the Reds on Saturday was, in fact, a miracle. Considering that the side has 16 players out through injury. The majority of the side that played on Saturday was 23 years old and younger, and they showed great maturity in standing up to the former champions.
The forwards proved once again, under the watchful eye of Matthew Proudfoot, that they have matured over the last few seasons. The pack stood up to the all-Wallaby tight-five, and gave as good as they got. Nazeem Carr did well at the back of the scrum for the injured Duane Vermeulan. Don Armand grows with each game and Siya Kolisi continues to prove that he should be the Springbok No. 6.
But my player of the match was definitely Damian De Allende. The young centre was a monster on defence, broke the line consistantly and created quite a few turnovers at the breakdown. The tall man was all over the field! One just hopes that the Stormers and Western Province do not make the same mistake they made with Johan Sadie in letting this talent slip through their fingers.
But, i still stand by my previous piece in saying that Allister Coetzee should vacate the position of Stormers head coach. The former Springbok assistant coach stated after the win that he had been through the most stressful week of his career. Nick Mallett said that the performances of the Stormers and the Sharks are due to the injuries they have suffered. Yes, I can agree with that, but I still maintain that Coetzee does not have what it takes to turn the Stormers into a championship winning side.
Considering that the Cape side breathed a sigh of relief after the win, coupled with the Southern Kings’ defeat to the Cheetahs, meant that the Stormers now have a 10-point margin over their coastal neighbours. A defeat against the Reds would have meant that the Stormers game against the Kings this coming Saturday would have turned out to be a relegation battle. It could still turn out that way if the Kings turn up at Newlands and beat their neighbours. The team who ends bottom of the South African conference will have to play the Lions in a promotion/relegation match.
With all the talent and pedigree that the Stormers have at their disposal, means that they should not be in this current position, even with the amount of injuries they are carrying. I sound like a broken record, but Coetzee has to front up and take the blame for this predicament. But, asking the Western Province Rugby Union to stand up and make a bold decision about Coetzee, would be like asking the ANC to admit to all the corruption within all the departments of government.