STORMERS FACING THE BLUES
While one hates being pessimistic, going into another Super 15 season unfortunately one cannot see much hope for the Stormers in 2014. While on paper they have a good squad once again there is a glaring deficiency at half back. We all know how important your scrumhalf and flyhalf are to the functioning of a rugby team and without at least one of them being a world class performer you can’t expect to compete in a world class competition like the Super 15!
Even though the Stormers have talent like Jean de Villiers, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh and Jaco Taute out wide you need quality inside them to put them in the correct position to attack, to decide when the time is right for the ball to go wide while continually varying their own game to keep the opposition guessing. Unfortunately, and with all due respect to Demetri Catrakilis, Gary van Aswegen, Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder and Nic Groom, the Stormers do not have the quality of player in these key positions to make a sustained title challenge.
The top teams in the competition have quality halfbacks! Aaron Cruden runs the show for the Chiefs as does Dan Carter for the Crusaders. Will Genia and Quade Cooper do the job for the 2012 Champions, the Reds while their Wallaby understudies stepped up and drove the Brumbies into the 2013 Final.
When Nic Maurer and I visited the Stormers camp in December to chat to the coaches I tried to subtly put the question to Alistair Coetzee as to why they don’t get into the market for quality halfbacks. It seems the Stormers simply do not have the cash to compete with the Bulls or the Sharks. Given their smaller budget and the salaries they are paying the four Springboks mentioned above as well as others like Vermeulen, Etezbeth and Burger they can’t afford a quality wing to replace Habana never mind a world class 9 or 10.
It seems that until some senior players leave or Western Province increase their player budget we will not see real quality in the key halfback positions.
Surely an investment in a quality 9 or 10 could propel the Stormers into a lucrative home semi or final from which the salary of this marquee player could be paid or I am getting ahead of myself??