The Stormers delivered a close to perfect performance in overwhelming the Cheetahs 53-10 at Newlands on Saturday.
It was the ideal way to prepare for next week’s massive clash against the Chiefs.
Who was the star of this match?
Surprisingly for a game in which so many players enjoyed freedom, it was easy to pick a player. Stormers fullback SP Marais has been a revelation this season. He was an absolute menace, gaining more than 100 running metres and having a hand in four tries with his keen eye for a gap and offload passing. Rampaging eighthman Sikhumbuzo Notshe came close.
Key moments and themes
- The influence of the Stormers’ skills coach, New Zealander Paul Feeney, can’t be emphasised enough. The Capetonians delivered a magnificent performance on the attack, breaking the line 16 times and scoring eight tries. More importantly, the Stormers’ finer, basic skills are great. They completed 117 passes and only knocked the ball on six times.
- Staying with Feeney, who is also the attack coach, it’s important to note how he’s getting the best out of previously underrated players. Marais is the prime example but also winger Dyllin Leyds. He’s been known as more of a defensive, hard-working player yet has found his taste for the tryline and is finishing off his opportunities superbly.
- Amazingly, the Stormers only enjoyed 46% of the possession but their aggressive tackling led to numerous turnovers, which their brilliant attacking play exploited. That type of balance is a hallmark of a good team.
- The Cheetahs’ injury crisis in the backline is taking its toll. Centre Nico Lee had to fill in as a winger and flyhalf Niel Marais at centre. Their inexperience was telling several times on defence as they made vital errors. Coach Franco Smith can’t keep on plugging gaps by picking players out of position.
- Smith’s troops’ day was summed up when replacement flanker Henco Venter broke the line and was on his way to the tryline, only to knock the ball on while trying to place it.
Stormers – Tries: Sikhumbuzo Notshe (3), Dyllin Leyds (2), Dan du Plessis, Robert du Preez, Siya Kolisi. Conversions: Du Preez (4), Kurt Coleman. Penalty: Du Preez.
Cheetahs – Try: Paul Schoeman. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalty: Zeilinga.