Is this the Stormers' year?

Stormers (Gallo Images)
Stormers (Gallo Images)
A lot has been expected from the Stormers over the past few seasons, but this appears to be the first season where the expectation appears to be low. Could this be a blessing in disguise for us. I am a mad Stormers fan, and the past few seasons have been very disappointing, I must admit. But I have a feeling that this year could be different! – Or at least we can hope!

Here are some of my views on the Stormers, the players and what I hope to see this year:

1. The Team:

Even though we have lost some very important players, I still believe that we have very good depth. Wing will be a concern, but I do believe we have enough talent in this province to cover this position. Otherwise I believe the squad is looking good. We have a good mixture of youth and experience which I believe is important. Ill get to my team later.

2. Spread the ball wide already!!

One aspect of our play which has to improve is our backline play. The Stormers have some of the best one on one backs in this country. They just need to be given ball in these situations. We need to stop running the likes of Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh on crashball, as this isn’t their style. If nothing improves this season, the brains trust must seriously consider getting rid of Robbie Fleck and get someone else who can provide some input in that backline. I know tries are tries, but I am sick and tired of our only try scoring mechanism being a maul. They are boring to watch, and in my opinion is just legalised obstruction! I want to see some swift backline moves and guys like Aplon, de Jongh and Kolbe running in space! I think that is what we all wish to see! I think we scored one try last year off a set piece that I can remember and that was Kolbe against the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup.

3. Is Schalk ready? And is he necessarily our best option?

I really used to rate Schalk Burger but I am not to sure if he will ever be the same again. We will only obviously be able to tell properly once the season has started. I however really wish for the Stormers to play a fetcher. Schalk cannot perform that role and in my opinion Kolisi as well, therefore they cannot be played together. They are both to similar in their styles. I know they say that Kolisi has been learning from F Louw, but I am not convinced that he is a fetcher and that he ever will be.  Last season we did not play a fetcher and I think it cost us badly. With our good defence, having a poacher will only strengthen it further. I believe Deon Fourie is the man to play in this position. He is not a hooker and I hope we use him on the flank the whole season. Without him at hooker, we have no fetcher in the forwards – and in this time it is a requirement. And besides Deon Fouries lineouts are very poor.

I really rate Kolisi and I believe with more skill training he could be the next Burger. He is strong and tackles like a demon. His hands are still not the best, but they are getting better. Once he develops his skills set, I can see him becoming a fixture in the Bok side.

4. Please throw the ball to the front of the Lineout if it isn’t working:

Do I even need to mention the games we have lost due to this. THROW THE BALL TO THE FRONT!! We have one of the biggest number 4's in the country – EBEN – so throw it to him!

5. Please give Nic Groom the same opportunities that you give Louis Schreuder:

I really rate Nic Groom. He is busy, tackles well and never shirks his responsibility. I have watched him live and just his tracking off the ball and the work he performs is immense. Much more than that of Schreuder. I also think he is quicker to the breakdown and can assist us in getting our backline going. I seriously rate this young man – and I really hope we give him a fair try. I know his kicking game isn’t the best, but isn’t that why you have a flyhalf, a wing that can kick and a fullback! And I personally believe his base kicking isn’t even that bad! Ever since that one error he made against the Cheetahs last year(the charged down kick by Sarel Pretorious in the Super Game then), the coaches just seemed to drop him and gave him the occasional game. This is the man along with Demetri that helped us to win the Currie Cup in 2012. And with the Greek being back – why not start this relationship again! Louis makes his fair fare of errors as well! (the Currie Cup final case in point).

I could go on for days but ill keep those thoughts for future blogs. Here is the team I will like to see in the competition this year:

15. Jaco Taute – Lets hope he can stay fit. He is strong and I think its what the Stormers need at the back!

14. Damian De Allende – I believe that wing could be his best position. He is strong and when in centre he doesn’t always distribute all that well. He also has enough wheels in my opinion.

13. Juan de Jongh – I know that he will be injured for the start, but I hope when he gets back he will be back to his best. In his absence I will shift De Allende into the centres.

12. Jean de Villiers – Doesn’t need a explanation. Last year was one of his best yet I think.

11. Gio Aplon – Please give him some space. He and Taute can move around during a game etc. And have Kolbe coming off the bench as impact when fit.

10. Demetri Catrikallis – I really rate him and with Peter Grant also back, we should be alright this season without the turnstile Jantjies in defence

9. Nic Groom

8. Duanne Vermuelen – Best Nr 8. in the country by a mile

7. Schalk Burger / Siya Kolisi

6. Deon Fourie – We need a fetcher

5. Manuel Carizza – Haven’t ever watched him properly, but hopefully he is good enough! If not, then when Etzebeth returns, put him @ 5. He did quite a good job there last season.

4. Eben – But in his absence Elstadt will do.

3. Frans Malherbe

2. Tiaan Liebenberg (not too sure about his injury or if he is fit, but either him or Scarra will be more than good enough)

1. Steven Kitshoff


16. Scarra

17. Pat Cilliers

18. Oli Kebble or Brok

19. Michael Rhodes – I really rate him as well and he is versatile

20. Siya Kolisi or Schalk

21. Schreuder

22. Peter Grant – He can cover both Centre and Fly Half if need be

23. Cheslin Kolbe – Perfect impact player off the bench.

Well this is my opinion on what I would like to see. Please comment and tell me if you agree or not. Lets hope this is the year of the Stormers!!!
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