Sharks vs Stormers – Superhero Saturday: 19 January 2020

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The Stormers winning this one should not be seen as the rise of a great Stormers team. They were extremely lucky to come away with a sloppy 21-19 win. There were two tries disallowed for the Sharks, which could just as well have been given by another TMO.

If you look at the scoreboard, you will think that the Stormers were the better team, but far from it. Two of their tries were huge opportunistic tries with a slip in defense to let Herschel break free for his first try and then the intercept. Their last try was well deserved.

As far as the Sharks are concerned they showed that they don’t just have a core squad who can deliver the goods, but the whole bench was up for the challenge as well. They were terribly unfortunate to have their two tries disallowed.

The first could have gone either way, but my opinion is that there wasn’t a complete separation between hand and ball. The player that Ox Nche took out was not a realistic tackler either. It was Wilco Louw up against a stepping Fassi. He would have never pulled off the tackle

Stormers dominated in every aspect

From the first scrum the Stormers were dominated and were struggling. Their only facet that worked was their lineouts where they were getting the ball to their jumpers. The problem was that they could not get one decent mall going and were pushed back repeatedly by the Sharks. Once it was with 4 Sharks defenders against a pack of 8 Stormers.

At ruck time they were too slow and turned over a couple of balls. At times they were aggressive at rucks, but only in response to Sharks coming in aggressively.

When Wilco Louw came on 2nd half he was able to help stabilize the scrum a little and the Stormers were able to put together a few phases from around the 60th minute.

Had they played against any other team and they weren’t as lucky with the TMO, they would have been slaughtered.

Chemistry was lacking, defense was slow, handling was questionable at best and they struggled immensely to identify opportunities.

It sounds harsh, but I am not sure exactly what they did during their off-season.

Sharks show promise – about 70% there

The Sharks looked like they are ready for a full Super Rugby season. They were not the complete package and made a few silly mistakes along the way. Their mistakes are much easier to address however than those of the Stormers.

Despite his two kicks that went too long, Curwin Bosch looked impressive. I am really looking forward to what he can do with that monster boot of his as well as his creative play during Super Rugby (and hopefully in a green and gold jersey).

At scrum time they killed the Stormers for the first 60 minutes and at lineouts they were the better team by far.

In their pack they felt the absence of the du Preez twins, but there were a few players that definitely put up their hands. Despite the stupid interference from Ox to deny Fassi his try, he was a rockstar throughout. Thomas du Toit also clearly showed that it would be exceptionally difficult to keep him out of the Springboks team later in the year

It was however the unknown Le Roux Roets at lock that impressed me the most. There is a lot of power there and some good hard work. What is lacking at the moment is a bit more conditioning as well as Super Rugby experience.

In the backline I couldn’t leave a name out as they were literally contributing from 9 through to 15. Louis Schreuder was the better true 9 on the park, Curwin Bosch overshadowed Willemse. The two centres had an understanding and creative side to them that looks like it is on the verge of going to a whole new level.

The most impressive out of the backline was however Fassi. He was never caught out of position fielding kicks at the back, so he looked after the basics. He joined the line effectively however and that individual (almost) try was something else. Some glimpses of Jordie Barrett.

The power of Sbu Nkosi for his (almost) try was also a thing of beauty

Players of the game

Stormers: Steven Kitshoff (1), Siya Kolisi (8)

Sharks: Ox Nche (1), Thomas du Toit (3), Le Roux Roets(4), Louis Schreuder (9),  Curwin Bosch(10), Sbu Nkosi (14), Aphelele Fassi (15), Lukhanyo Am (13), Andre Esterhuizen (12)

ThysRugby man of the match: Curwin Bosch

Plays of the game

They all belonged to the Sharks!

  • Louis Schreuder making Jantjies throw a pass over dead-ball line
  • Sbu Nkosi’s (almost)try on blindside OVER the opposition
  • Aphelele Fassi’s (almost) try was a piece of individual brilliance!

Final verdict

Stormers: 3/10. Despite their win, there was very little to get excited about. There will have to be an amazing amount of work done over the next weeks to make sure that they don’t get humiliated by the Hurricanes.

Sharks: 7/10. Despite their loss, they were the better team on the field by far. A lot more of what they intended to do worked out perfectly.