WILL THE STORMERS CHOKE AGAIN, IN SUPER RUGBY 2016?
As we are approaching the halfway mark of the Super Rugby tournament for 2016 (can you believe it?) the Stormers are yet again finding themselves top of the log, an impressive feat they have managed to do consistently over the past several years under the Allister Coetzee, and Fleck regime.
As good as the Stormers have been in the past several years, representing the best of the South African franchises, it is no secret that they are yet to get any silverware to their trophy cabinet. That is, except conference titles and trophies; which is essentially like kissing your sister so we won’t count that.
Has The Stormers learned?
The Question needs to be asked have the Stormers learned from their previous playoff losses, and might this be their year? We believe it is fair to compare the Stormers to the Proteas cricket team, the latter who has now finally admitted to their “chokers” tag.
With that being said, we believe the Stormers best chance to have gone on and become only the second South African team to win a Super Rugby title, after the Bulls, might have come in previous years.
When looking at 2016 and comparing the Stormers who is currently the crop of the South African group and comparing them to the crop of the Australasian group, we simply can’t see how 2016 will be any different than previous years for the Stormers.
Die heart Stormers fans, and the South African rugby supporting community, need to ask themselves the question, “is the current best South African team good enough to win the Crusaders or Chiefs in a final.” The brutal truth for Stormers fans is surely…No!
As mentioned earlier in the post, the Stormers best chance to have won a title might have come and gone, we say this because when comparing the current Stormers squad to that of the top New-Zealand teams we simply can’t see how they can pull of a win.
We do however believe, should it come down to a semi-final between the Stormers and an Australian team they will be able to get a win, providing they have learned how not to choke, but we simply can’t see how the Stormers, or any other South African or Australian team for that matter, can currentlycompete with the best New-Zealand has to offer.
Yes, the Stormers are playing a bit more exciting compared to previous years where they simply relied on their rock solid defence, however the Stormers are far from fantastic on attack.
They have a good forward pack which might be able to compete in set pieces, with that being said, the truth is rugby is no longer a tight game contested in the set pieces between the forwards (we are not saying those areas are not important)
Rugby has revolutionized in such a way, or rather New Zealand has revolutionized rugby, in such a way that running the ball out of your own 22 is now common practise.
The proof is in the statistics
Combine the greater emphasis on ball retention coupled with a set of rule changes from the IRB which further encourages fast attacking play and it is hard to see how the Stormers will be able to putmore points on the board against a top New-Zealand team.
Current statistics up to Super Rugby round 7, stunningly emphasizes the above point.
Total number of tries scored (team name followed by number of tries scored in brackets) from Super Rugby 2016 round 1 to 7
Position 1 – 4 are all occupied by New-Zealand teams, The Chiefs (39), Crusaders (25), Highlanders (23), and Hurricanes (22) respectively.
Next comes the Lions (21), Brumbies (21), and Bulls (19), It is only in position 8 where we see the Stormers on 17 tries.
Other attacking statistics such as:
Number of carries, clean breaks, defenders beaten, metres made and offloads all paints more or less the same picture.
We will conclude with the point we are trying to make. When looking at the current group of Stormers players, combined with their performance this far and overall statistic, we do see how the Stormers can go on and have another very respectable Super Rugby 2016 campaign, with that being said, we simply can’t see how the Stormers, despite being top placed on the overall log (yet again) can go on and get Super Rugby success.
Unfortunately, it will be another case of kissing your sister (conference title) instead of getting the blue eyed blond (super rugby title) for the Stormers in 2016.