Missed tackles trip up Stormers

A strong weekend for the SA teams saw the Bulls kick off their Aussie tour with a convincing 32-17 victory over the Rebels, the Lions beat the Higlanders 38-29 in an entertaining clash in Joburg, and the Stormers hold the Crusaders to a thrilling 19-all draw in Cape Town.

After 14 rounds of action, the Bulls and Jaguares have 32 points each from 12 games, with the men from Pretoria on top of the SA log courtesy of a better points-difference. The Lions are in third (30 points), followed by the Sharks (29) and Stormers (26).

At Newlands, a last-minute penalty goal by Jean-Luc du Plessis enabled the Capetonians to salvage a draw in an absorbing clash. The visitors scored 3 tries to 1, but the home side’s 4 penalty goals contributed to an 83% kick success rate, and the surprise result.

Perhaps even more surprising given that the Stormers missed a whopping 27 tackles on their way to a truly ordinary tackle success rate of just 78%. That 21 of the 97 tackles they did make were dominant would have helped their cause, though.

As did their dominant scrum, which delivered a tighthead and 3 vital penalties, the last one leading directly to the equaliser from Du Plessis.

The defending champions led 12-10 at halftime after hitting back with two tries in reply to the game’s opening try by Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi.

The match was played in a Test-match like atmosphere as an appreciative crowd of more than 30 000 saw both sides contribute to an absorbing encounter.

Kolisi’s team lost the services of industrious Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi in the first half through injury, while centre Damian de Allende also left the field later on with a leg injury.

However, the home side’s forwards, with Springbok flank Pieter-Steph du Toit outstanding against a quality Crusaders pack, proceeded to lay the foundation for a gritty performance by the home side.

Braydon Ennor scored the visitors’ third try shortly after the restart which handed them a 19-10 led. Two penalties by the Stormers – one each by flyhalf Josh Stander and his replacement, Du Plessis, reduced the gap to just three points at 19-16.

The last 15 minutes produced plenty of drama, with both teams squandering opportunities. Crusaders right wing Reece Sevu was denied a try after a pass from Ennor was controversially deemed forward by the TMO, while home fullback Damian Willemse misjudged his dive onto a grubber kick to miss out.

As is their want, it was the Crusaders who dominated the offload and tackle break stats, while the home side edged both the possession and territory battles, and carved off an extra 100m from the 3 extra kicks they made.

A look at the match stats from Newlands:

Match information:

  • Points: STO 19-19 CRU
  • Tries: STO 1-3 CRU
  • Penalty goals: STO 4-0 CRU
  • Goal kicking %: STO 83% – 67% CRU
  • Possession: STO 51% – 49% CRU
  • Territory: STO 53% – 47% CRU
  • Ball in play: 31 minutes

Attacking stats:

  • Ball Carries: STO 98-95 CRU
  • Metres run: STO 558-595 CRU
  • Line breaks: STO 3-3 CRU
  • Tackle breaks: STO 2-12 CRU
  • Passes: STO 116-137 CRU
  • Good Passes: STO 104-116 CRU
  • Offloads: STO 9-15 CRU
  • Rucks won: STO 76-64 CRU
  • Mauls won: STO 8-3 CRU
  • Turnovers conceded: STO 9-13 CRU

Defensive stats:

  • Tackles made: STO 97-134 CRU
  • Tackles missed: STO 27-11 CRU
  • Tackle success: STO 78% – 93% CRU
  • Dominant tackles: STO 21-13 CRU
  • Tackle turnover: STO 2-5 CRU
  • Turnovers won: STO 3-4 CRU

Kicking stats:

  • Kicks from hand: STO 29-26 CRU
  • Metres kicked: STO 854-749 CRU

Error stats:

  • Handling errors: STO 10-11 CRU
  • Penalties conceded: STO 7-13 CRU (3 from scrums)

First phase stats:

  • Lineouts won: STO 19-11 CRU
  • Lineouts stolen: STO 1-1 CRU
  • Scrums won: STO 3-6 CRU
  • Scrums lost: STO 0-1 CRU
  • Own kickoff won: STO 0-1 CRU
  • Own kickoff lost: STO 4-4 CRU

This Friday, the Bulls are away to the Brumbies in Canberra, while on Saturday the Jaguares play the Waratahs in Sydney. The Stormers host the Highlanders at Newlands, and the Sharks have a home derby in against the Lions.

- Tank Lanning

Let's chat

  • Albert

    That’s 2 draws for SA teams against the Crusaders. And lets not forget that the Cape Crusaders make this more of a home setting for the Saders than an away match.

    Considering the Lions were thrashed by the self same Crusaders for the last 3 years, I think it is safe to say that the way to match them is to dominate them physically. The only thing missing from both the Stormers and Sharks matches was that killer instinct. The ability to keep focused for the full 80 minutes.

    I expect certain rose tinted viewers of specific SA freanchises to lambast the forward pass (having seen the replays, it was 2m forward) and to also suggest that their team is far superior at “running rugby”. I even suspect certain individuals to use terminology that is becoming boring and outdated.

    But it is what it is, our limited franchise coaches have found a way to match the score of the best team in the world, and if that isn’t something to crow about then I have clearly lost the plot. After 160 minutes of rugby between SA franchises and the Crusaders, the scores are even. Which is evident in the 2 Rugby Champs matches last year, with the scores level after both. I ignore the terrible thrashing the Lions got for a reason.

    5 +
    = 12

    • Dean Bright

      The pass was legitimate according to the laws of the game. The hands were facing backwards and the ball was not moving forward straight out of the hands. The Stormers should be happy with the result because if that try was awarded, it’s game over. Credit to them for hanging in there. They looked out of ideas on attack though. Ntubeni looks completely out of shape and his lineout throwing has been suspect for a very long time. Smart decision by Kolisi considering the Crusaders have Sam Whitelock, the best lineout poacher in World Rugby.

    • John Comyn

      I will definitely take the draw. It appears, according to the experts, the pass was legit. Having a look at replays I would have to agree. We got of jail on this one. Willemse should have scored. All he had to do was let the ball roll over the line and dot it down. A case of should of, could of, would of! Now they need to follow this up with a convincing win against the Highlanders. Oh and get rid of JJ Engelbreght. There has to be a better option in the Western Cape.

      • Barry

        Agreed John, JJ made 5 tackles but missed 6!!!

  • Barry

    Well a great performance from the Stormers it must be said!

    To my mind, the biggest difference was the the senior players stood up for a change. We spoke last week about the fact that many of our core Springbok players have been largely anonymous. Yet this past weekend, across the board there were notable improvement, not just in the Stormers camp, but similarly Vermeulen looked much improved, Britz made some tackles and the Lions looked solid.

    Has Erasmus been at work?

  • Wesley

    I thoroughly enjoyed this weekends rugby, not entirely because of the good SA weekend, but that the locally played games were tight and teams were closely matched, a good Saturday afternoon was had by all.

    I must say though, the NZ teams dont like it when they dont dominate us, they have a torrid time when they dont breach the defense regularly and thus their game suffers. If you look at the Highlanders and Crusaders body language when impeded, and the hollering when they did get the up (at least the Aaron Smith hollering was constant throughout), you can see a team expecting to dominate but dont, and then getting very excited to get even the slightest upper hand. Stormers were pumped also at those times, but you expect it playing against the worlds best club. Its to get in their face from the onset, and the Sharks and Stormers have those packs to deal with it, Bulls have the pack but they seemed lazy, the Lions dont have that physicality and try to run you off the park, which dont work against the Crusaders. Not surprised about the draws at all if you know what they capable of.

  • Nick

    Agree with Barry. Was specifically watching Bok performance, and generally the Boks stood up. Must say Willemse is starting to worry me. He has a long way to go imo. A good player like Colbe would have scored that try no prob.
    Wesley, agree with you on the point about not allowing the Kiwi’s too much space and giving them too much respect. I have to make slight disagreement with you on the style of play of the Lions. It’s all founded on a crushing scrum and an effective maul from the lineout. Always has been. If we look at where the Lions points come from, many are from Mauls/lineouts, and penalties from scrums. Sure, they move the ball around, but they like going through the middle too. Their pick n drive was also fairly prevalent this weekend.

    The Bulls stood back against the Crusaders last week IMO and let them run riot as we all saw. [Not that there was much they could do, that Crusaders pack is excellent] But very pleased for them on their win abroad. 3 years without a win in Australasia is a shocking stat. Why? seems strange. Hopefully they have found a way to solve this.

  • Vossie

    It’s good to see some positive comments on here, i guess we have the Bulls, Lions & Stormers to thank for that. The Kiwi sides hate losing to us as its almost beneath them to lose to S.A teams these days. Rugby Pass and NZ Stuff going nuts as they are blaming the refs again for their poor outings on the Weekend. Rasta did have shocker tbh but how may times did we get the short end when playing in NZ.

    • Johan

      Please explain Rasta’s “shocker”, I was at Ellis Park and couldn’t hear the commentary from Stransky?

      The only contentions call I can think off is Marx breaking from the maul, and the ref calling “tackle”.
      In my biased opinion Marx’s shoulders where out of the maul and he went to ground because of a guy “tackling” him, (if it still was a maul, is a highlander allowed to tackle him and bring it down?) however the call could have gone either way…

      Wayyy more contentions was the clear and obvious slap down on the 5m that wasn’t given a yellow card?

      In my opinion, the Lions tried really hard not to give away penalties, they roll away fast, stay onside and generally do not tackle high, their scrums are strong and both Sadie and Smith wins a lot of penalties there.

      But, as I said, I was at the game and could only use my eyes and see a few replays on the screen…
      Can you please enlighten me?

Comments are closed.