Cape Town - Another Super Rugby playoff, another Stormers loss.
That is the unwanted monkey on the Cape side’s back that they simply cannot seem to shed.
Last Saturday’s 17-11 quarter-final loss to the Chiefs was the Stormers’ eighth loss in nine Super Rugby playoff games - a paltry 11.11% win record.
What makes matters worse is that six of those losses have been at their home, 'fortress' Newlands.
Hardly a fortress then is it...
Yes, there were marked improvements from last year’s humiliating 60-21 defeat to the Chiefs at the same stage, but it will be scant consolation for long-suffering Stormers fans.
The hosts had their chances to win but are seemingly incapable of coming to the party when it matters most.
SP Marais had the chance to put his side ahead in the final 10 minutes but his failed penalty attempt best summed up the Stormers’ predicament under pressure.
The senior team’s inability to perform under pressure is hard to explain for a union of such stature.
It’s a region with vast talent and year-after-year the Western Province junior teams compete at the business end of their respective competitions.
Western Province also won this year’s SuperSport Rugby Challenge without losing a game which is a further indication of depth in the region.
But somehow at Super-level these successes cannot be replicated...
Stormers’ Super rugby playoff record:
1999 - lost to Otago Highlanders (33-18 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2004 - lost to Crusaders (27-16 in semi-finals, Christchurch)
2010 - beat Waratahs (25-6 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2010 - lost to Bulls (25-17 in final, Soweto)
2011 - lost to Crusaders (29-10 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2012 - lost to Sharks (26-19 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2015 - lost to Brumbies (39-19 in qualifier, Cape Town)
2016 - lost to Chiefs (60-21 in quarter-finals, Cape Town)
2017 - lost to Chiefs (17-11 in quarter-finals, Cape Town)