A sweet and sour sea­son

We an­a­lyse how the Storm­ers mixed the good with the bad in Su­per Rugby

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

THE STORM­ERS have had quite a Su­per Rugby sea­son. From the highs of beat­ing the Chiefs at New­lands ear­lier this sea­son, to the lows of a ter­ri­ble tour to New Zealand. We look at the sweet and sour of the Storm­ers’ 2017 Su­per Rugby sea­son.

The Sweet

At­tack­ing progress: Prob­a­bly the big­gest pos­i­tive the Storm­ers can take from this year is the progress they’ve made on at­tack. Their passes and off­loads stuck bet­ter, they played with more width, and at times they added some nice va­ri­ety on at­tack. It wasn’t all good through­out the sea­son, but there have def­i­nitely been signs of im­prove­ment, so it will be good to see their im­prove­ment next year.

Ex­cit­ing young­sters: Blood­ing young new tal­ent is some­thing that has been men­tioned quite a few times by coach Rob­bie Fleck this year, and what we’ve seen from some of those young­sters has cer­tainly been sweet. When it comes to sweet on-field dis­plays, Damian Willemse has cer­tainly been right up there. Then there is out­side cen­tre EW Viljoen, who has es­tab­lished him­self as a fine mid­field op­tion. Another promis­ing new­bie has been hard-work­ing loose for­ward and World Rugby Un­der-20 Player of the Tour­na­ment Juarno Au­gus­tus, and al­though Au­gus­tus, who showed off his ball-car­ry­ing skills dur­ing the ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion, didn’t en­joy as much Su­per Rugby ex­po­sure as Viljoen or even Willemse, he surely is one to watch for next sea­son.

The growth of Siya: Siya Kolisi has been re­ally some­thing since he was named as the cap­tain of the Storm­ers ear­lier this sea­son. Lead­er­ship has cer­tainly done him well, and judg­ing by his el­e­va­tion in just one sea­son, there’s no telling what cap­tain Siya will treat us to in the years to come.

Deeper depths: The Storm­ers have gained good depth in a num­ber of po­si­tions this sea­son, and al­though they haven’t al­ways been able to make full use of all their op­tions due to injury, point is, their depth has im­proved. For ex­am­ple, look at their loose for­ward stocks. And it doesn’t end there. The same can be said about the fly­half po­si­tion with Willemse as the new ad­di­tion.

The Sour

Never-end­ing in­juries: The Storm­ers have suf­fered a ridicu­lous num­ber of in­juries this sea­son and, need­less to say, it’s put them in a few un­pleas­ant sit­u­a­tions at times. Mid­field has been a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem area this sea­son, and the Storm­ers have been hit by mul­ti­ple in­juries at the same time in the two po­si­tions. But it wasn’t just in mid­field that things got a bit tough for the Storm­ers – fly­half, prop, scrumhalf, wing, you name it, there have been in­juries.

Li­ne­outs: The li­ne­outs have been an area of con­cern at times this year, and we’ve seen just too many skew and over­thrown balls. The Storm­ers will have to fix what­ever is lack­ing in the area that has al­ways been a tra­di­tional strength.

Hor­ror tour: That tour to New Zealand was not pretty, not pretty at all. The Storm­ers suf­fered (and the word “suf­fer” is very ap­pro­pri­ate here) a 57-24 thrash­ing to the Cru­saders, and an even more one-sided 57-14 en­counter to the High­landers. An im­proved per­for­mance saw them lose their game against the Hur­ri­canes 41-22 (the score­board, how­ever, did flat­ter the Storm­ers a bit too much as they only scored one try). In­con­sis­tency: The Storm­ers have im­pressed with out­stand­ing per­for­mances this sea­son, but at times they have just not been good enough. They opened their Su­per Rugby sea­son with a com­plete per­for­mance against the Bulls, and they con­tin­ued to im­press in a num­ber of games, in­clud­ing their win over the Chiefs ear­lier this year. Right af­ter that su­perb per­for­mance by Fleck’s men, how­ever, they went and lost to the Lions. They also strug­gled against the Sun­wolves twice, while they weren’t at their best against the Chee­tahs and Bulls to­wards the end of the sea­son. But that can prob­a­bly be put down to them try­ing to change their game, and it can per­haps be la­belled “grow­ing pains”. They’re go­ing to have to work on keep­ing things con­sis­tent if they want to have a real chance next year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.