By Herman R Gibbs
Just under 40 000 spectators crammed into Newlands on Saturday to see the Stormers return to local action after their recent Australasia tour and a bye.
But although the Stormers ran out close-shave 16-14 victors their performance did not suggest that they will be serious title contenders when the business end of the Super Rugby competition is played out.
Sure, defence has been the bedrock of most championship winning teams in recent times, but the Stormers' try-scoring ability is way off the mark.
Both Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske and captain Adriaan Strauss made the point at the post-match conference that the Stormers score 65% of their points from penalties.
Yet, the Stormers are the only Super Rugby side that field an all-international backline but are unable to score tries.
Allister Coetzee and Jean de Villiers, Stormers coach and captain respectively, have expressed concern about the team below-par performances.
“It was a frustrating performance, especially because we dominated them and were getting penalty after penalty in the first half,” said De Villiers. “But we were poor. We are a Springbok backline, players who have represented South Africa when we have been in form. Tonight we were definitely not worthy of Springbok colours. And if we play like this in the next three weeks, we are in for a rude awakening.”
Coetzee expressed similar sentiments
“We were poor, but you must remember this team is still winning. And we are one point behind the conference leaders. So there is still a lot of rugby to played,” said Coetzee. “We understand where we have to brush up and we are trying our best to get there. The things that are going wrong are things we can fix. We will leave no stone unturned in our endeavour to do that.”
This week the Stormers host the Waratahs at Newlands on Saturday.
Here are some of the action from the Newlands clash.