• Waratahs compound Stormers’ woes

    The Waratahs beat the Stormers 22-11 at Newlands to hand the Cape franchise their fifth consecutive defeat, reports JON CARDINELLI.

    The downward spiral continues. There were moments when the Stormers showed an improvement at the lineout, and others when their attack exhibited enterprise and potency. Unfortunately, these moments were too few and far between, and viewed as a whole this was just another in a series of poor performances by the Cape side.

    Saturday’s defeat marked the Stormers’ fifth in a row, and their sixth of the season. It was also their first at Newlands in 2014.

    There were individuals who stood out, none more so than stand-in captain Duane Vermeulen. But one man’s efforts were never going to be enough when pitted against the collective strength of the Waratahs pack.

    Gert Smal was appointed as Western Province’s director of rugby on Monday, and perhaps the input of the former Springbok and Ireland forwards coach influenced the Stormers’ tactics and accuracy at the lineout. Deon Fourie found his jumpers regularly and as a result the Stormers were able to launch from this platform.

    The scrum also fired in the early stages to give Peter Grant a steady supply of front-foot ball, and the flyhalf manufactured a hole for Juan de Jongh to exploit in the 20th minute. The centre then found Kobus van Wyk for the finish, and at long last the Newlands faithful, or at least the few who bothered to turn up on Saturday, had a try worth celebrating.

    But again, this was the exception rather than the norm. The Stormers were guilty of dropping passes and losing possession whenever they moved into opposition territory. Credit should go to the Waratahs for their breakdown efforts, but the Stormers should lament the loss of momentum at crucial stages as well as some missed opportunities.

    Grant missed two kicks at goal in the first half, and Jaco Taute’s long-range attempt also drifted wide of the posts. Meanwhile, between Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale, the Waratahs didn’t miss one attempt.

    The momentum was with the Waratahs in the second stanza, and their accurate goal-kicking ensured that the scoreboard ticked over. Trailing by 11 points, the Stormers were forced to play catch-up rugby, and as they grew more desperate, they began to make more handling errors and concede multiple penalties.

    The Waratahs weren’t as good as the scoreline suggests, and the Stormers had every chance of winning this game. They failed to take their chances in front of goal, while their inaccuracies at the breakdown, and later on defence, cost them dearly.

    The Waratahs go back to Australia having banked four valuable log points. The Stormers have hit rock bottom in every sense, as this defeat sees them sinking to last place on the Vodacom Super Rugby log.

    Stormers – Try: Kobus van Wyk. Penalties: Grant (2).

    Waratahs – Try: Nick Phipps. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalties: Foley (3), Kurtley Beale (2).

    Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
    Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Tazz Fuzani, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Michael van der Spuy.

    Waratahs – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Jono Lance, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgeiter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sepoke Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
    Subs: 16 Silatolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan,19 Patrick McCutcheon, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Matt Carraro, 23 Cam Crawford.

    Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

    LEATHERMAN SA PLAYER OF THE MATCH

    Captain Duane Vermeulen had a colossal game at the breakdowns and collisions. The powerful No 8 breached the gainline regularly, and also effected some timely turnovers on the deck. If the rest of the Stormers players had matched the effort of their skipper, the Cape franchise would have won.

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    Jon Cardinelli