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Stormers Super Rugby Challenge Fizzles Out

The Stormers Super Rugby Challenge fizzled out after a dominant display by the visiting Brumbies from Australia. In the end, the 39 to 19 might even be considered as a little flattering to the Stormers as they were rarely in the game.

Brumbies – Tries: Joe Tomane 3, Scott Sio, Vita Vaea and Jesse Mogg Conversions: Christian Lealiifano 3 Penalty: Christian Lealiifano
DHL Stormers – Try: Cheslin Kolbe Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis 4

The Stormers were without Springbok number 8 Duane Vermeulen when their team was announced, so it was a further body blow when stalwart flanker Schalk Burger was ruled out just before the game. Their experience and maturity under pressure was certainly missed as the Stormers looked very nervous and jittery early on and the Brumbies took full advantage. They were also sorely missed when it came to cover defense, with the Stormers being caught out a number of times. The Brumbies were able to boss the collisions and rucks, something that Stormers rarely have to deal with.

The Stormers lacked creativity on attack and relied on up and unders and one off runners. Their only try came from an intercept by Cheslin Kolbe. For their part, the Brumbies ran at the Stormers and six tries attests to that. The Stormers line out was also a major disappointment, with 9 line outs going against the throw. This was especially expensive for them when they turned over possession on attacking line outs.

Their famed defense was also far too regularly tested out and exposed by the Brumbies back line. The decision to rest almost their entire starting line up in the game against the Sharks may have had something to do with this disjointed performance from the Stormers. It has become a feature of the Super Rugby competition that a team coming off a bye tends to struggle and resting so many of their regular starters effectively created that bye and this could be blamed for destroying their momentum. This should be no excuse though as aside from ten minutes after half time, they were never really in the game. The Stormers capitulation in the final minutes of the game probably summed up how they ended the season. The Brumbies were down to 13 men after Henry Speight was red carded for a shocking dump tackle on Cheslin Kolbe and a yellow card to Scott Fardy for persistent ruck infringements. The Stormers had an attacking scrum 5m out, but were pushed off the ball by the 7 man Brumbies scrum. The 13 man Brumbies then went on to score against the Stormers who had a full complement of players.

As the Stormers Super Rugby season is now over, they say farewell to Head Coach Alister Coetzee who is on his way to coach in Japan, as well as players such as Stephen Kitshoff, Duane Vermeulen and Dimitri Catrakilis, who are on their way to France.

The Brumbies, having faced the Crusaders last weekend in Canberra and the Stormers this weekend in Cape Town now have to fly to Sydney to face the Waratahs and this will be no easy task.

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