United Rugby Championship

Stormers' long history of home playoff troubles

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Robbie Fleck (Gallo)
Robbie Fleck (Gallo)
  • If the Sharks were untrustworthy in Super Rugby playoffs, the Stormers were consistently poor.
  • The Stormers won only one out of six Super Rugby home playoffs against different opposition.
  • They're expected to get the better of Edinburgh in their United Rugby Championship quarter-final next week, but have a huge playoff monkey on their shoulder.

From the men in black to the men in navy and white, the Stormers have endured more than their fair share of playoff failure over the years. 

Out of 10 Super Rugby playoffs they took part in, they only won one - the 2010 semi-final against the Waratahs at Newlands.

The 2010 final against the Bulls at the Orlando Stadium, along with the 2004 semi-final against the Crusaders, was the odd example of the Stormers being beaten by the better side.

The rest? Well, the Stormers have been the absent father who promises to visit their child, only to switch off their phones on the day of the scheduled trip.

It's that bad because a lot of their chokes came at Newlands, where their faithful constantly expected a different result.

Maybe the move to the Cape Town Stadium will come with newer and better memories, but here's how the Stormers continuously flopped at home in Super Rugby playoffs.

23 May 1999: Stormers 18-33 Highlanders – WATCH

The Stormers appeared as Western Province in the 1996 Super 12, but flopped there and didn't feature in the 1997 tournament.

They came back the following year with a rainbow jersey and, in 1999, they took on a shade of black and played like men on a mission to become the first South African team to host a Super 12 playoff.

With the Reds being pipped at home by the Crusaders, all the Stormers had to do was to dispatch the Highlanders and force the Christchurch side to fly across the Indian Ocean.

A player's strike over bonuses on the eve of the game then shifted the focus. They were at Newlands by body, but not by mind and the wide margin of defeat showed that.

2 July 2011: Stormers 10-29 Crusaders - WATCH

By the time the Stormers hosted this semi-final, they had gone through the entire cycle of struggling and then finding their feet again.

The previous year, they'd become the first South African team to beat all five New Zealand sides. In 2011, they'd lost just four out of 18 matches.

Three of those group defeats came against the Reds, Crusaders and Bulls, with the trio finding a way of countering the Stormers' forward-orientated path.

The lessons weren't taken in and with the Crusaders varying their play better, they dismantled Allister Coetzee's side in the knockouts.

Sonny-Bill Williams's offloading game also dazzled the Newlands faithful and a new All Black star for them was born.

28 July 2012: Stormers 19-26 Sharks - WATCH

The Stormers somehow found a way to get into a position of hosting a home semi-final, this time against a Sharks side that took every match like a playoff game.

They were never flashy, but highly effective in a round-robin stage where they lost two, drew two and won the rest of their 18 matches.

One of those defeats was away to the Sharks.

The Sharks had finished sixth, which meant they headed to Brisbane, which they did so successfully by booting out the defending champions the Reds.

Against the Stormers, the Sharks lost the initial physical battle when a young Eben Etzebeth bounced Bismarck du Plessis, but they ultimately played the smarter rugby to prevail.

The trip to Hamilton was a bridge too far for the Sharks, but they'd left the Stormers in tears yet again.

20 June 2015: Stormers 19-39 Brumbies – WATCH

After a three-year playoff absence, it would have been easy to think the Stormers had learned from their previous knockout pains.

The South African contingent was poor in this edition, with the Lions starting to show glimpses of their title-challenging ability while the Cheetahs, Bulls, and Sharks were in arrested development.

That said, the Stormers hosting the Brumbies gave the Newlands faithful renewed hope that a change of opposition would lead to a change of fortunes.

It wasn't to be as Joe Tomane's hattrick in the first 25 minutes of the qualifier laid waste to the hosts.

They trailed 17-3 and never recovered. It was a sickening blow, but things were to become worse.

23 July 2016: Stormers 21-60 Chiefs – WATCH

The start of this quarter-final was misleading. The Stormers scored the first try of the match, but everything else went south very quickly.

The Chiefs dished out an exhibition of attacking rugby the Stormers had no answer to. It also didn't help the Stormers felt like they were playing away from home as the Chiefs had significant support.

What the Stormers couldn't respond to was the white wave of the Chiefs that was unstoppable. At least, by now, they were accustomed to being barrelled in home playoffs.

22 July 2017: Stormers 11-17 Chiefs – WATCH

This was a much closer result, but one that also didn't go the way of the Stormers. The defensive effort was much better, with only one Shaun Stevenson try as compared to the deluge of the previous season.

However, the Stormers again froze at home when it really mattered, with the attacking sterility that dogged them for years again rearing its ugly head in a crucial game.

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