Super Rugby preview – Stormers

Super Rugby preview – Stormers

The Stormers had a disappointing 2014 and will want to respond with a vengeance.

They topped the pool stages in 2012 but slumped to seventh in 2013 and eleventh last year. They have never won the competition and when they got past the pool stages five times they lost four semis and one final. No wonder they have the reputation of being the chokers.

The have played negative defensive rugby recently but the Newlands’ faithful wouldn’t mind so much if they were winning. The crowds have dropped because the fans are frustrated: they can’t work out why their Super Rugby team is doing so badly.

They weren’t helped last year with all their injuries but it seems to be happening year after year.

 The Stormers – had a disappointing 2014


Player development

There is no reason why they should be struggling because the Stormers have the best schoolboy talent pool in world rugby. The secret will always be to hold on to this talent.

They let rising star Handrè Pollard slip from their fingers and leave for the Bulls in 2013 but the good news is that they learned a lesson and have recruited aggressively themselves recently. They sure are on the right track to strengthen their structure and already we saw rewards in the 2014 Currie Cup victories for Western Province in both the Seniors and Under 19s.

The return of ex-Stormers coach Gert Smal (who was assistant coach for both the Springbokke and Ireland), in the position of Director of Rugby for Western Province, should make a difference. He was appointed in March last year and will be in charge of getting the best junior and senior players from inside and outside the province and giving contracts to the best. He sure won’t mess around because he knows all the strengths and weaknesses of Western Province rugby.

Ex-Stormers’ coach Gert Smal in 2004 – back to the future



The Stormers didn’t have many tries scored against them last year—only 29. The trouble was that they only scored 30.

But maybe Gert Small has changed things because there was more attack by Western Province in the Currie Cup; so we will hope that continues in Super Rugby with the Stormers.

There is every chance of that because Paul Treu, who coached the Blitzbokke Sevens team for a long time, has joined the coaching group of Allister Coetzee. The new kicking coach will be Vlok Cilliers, who used to coach a young Morné Steyn.

Another thing the coaches will have to do is to fix their lineout. They had success only 78% of the time they threw the ball in last year—what a change from the days of Andries Bekker.

 Jean de Villiers – injured for Springboks v. Wales – will miss Super Rugby   .


Player Losses

The hardest knock is the loss of their captain, Jean de Villiers, who had a knee construction. Others missing this year include: Seabelo Senatia (Sevens), Tiaan Liebenberg (retired), Brok Harris (Dragons), Pat Cilliers (Montpellier), Gio Aplon (Grenoble), De Kock Steenkamp (Ospreys), Deon Fourie (Lyon), Peter Grant (La Rochelle), Sailosi Tagicakibau (London Irish).

Player Gains

They have gained some players who have played Super Rugby before: Bongi Mbonambi (Bulls), and Dilyn Leyds (Western Force), but that doesn’t balance out the losses.

Players to Watch

The Stormers will be a young team this year and expect experienced players like Vermeulen, Etzebeth, Burger, Taute, de Jongh, and Rhodes to do their utmost to provide balance for younger players like Malherbe, Kitshoff, Carr, Ntubeni, Catrakilis, de Allende and R. Botha—and to ignite young guns like van Wyk, Grobler, Kolbe, and Leyds to perform to their abilities.

As usual expect Eben Etzebeth and new skipper Duane Vermeulen to be two of the stars of the team—but will these important Springboks have to be rested in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup?

Skipper Duane Vermeulen – sure to be one of the stars for the Stormers this year      .



With Gert Smal back you can expect the Stormers tight five to be a top one in the competition. If they can perform you can expect a totally different Stormers team—one of yesteryear. They have to get their attack/defensive balance right and you can expect to see them playing a totally different style and brand of rugby.

Best XV

Forwards: 1. Steven Kitshoff, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Gerbrandt Grobler, 5. Eben Etzebeth, 6. Nizaam Carr, 7. Schalk Burger, 8. Duane Vermeulen (c),

Backs: 9. Nic Groom, 10. Dmitri Catrakilis, 11. Kobus van Wyk, 12. Jaco Taute, 13. Juan de Jongh, 14. Damian de Allende, 15. Chelsin Kolbe.


South African Conference winner. Nothing less than a semi spot for 2015 will satisfy the Newlands’ faithful.




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