#supeRUG: The Year of the Jou Lekker Ding?

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Don’t even suggest it, remarks the cabinet cleaner at Newlands!

His job is presently a taxing and consuming priority; don’t jettison his hope for a joke.

Only a small trophy can be won in April, and as the Blues are proving, much can also be lost. There is plenty of time for all sides at either spectrum to take a dive or arrive, as we head toward week 18, and the playoffs.

Nice and slow.

As this season of 2012 unfurled, there were only a few picking this new Stormers unit would be the leading #supeRUG side out of the Republic. It was tough enough for us, New Zealand side, to find out who would be making the final cut in each franchise, but with all the talk about change in the Cape, even her more vociferous and ardent supporters were playing it on the downlow, as expectations started to sound off.

And then the band played.

Things would start solidly enough over the Canes and Sharks, before this side would say, Bye. The Blues would blow mostly cold, as a momentary blitz would only disturb the saucers – no cups. The Lions on Coke would go close, even as this southern South African side would provide comfort for the flock. The battle with the Bulls would be brutal, but clinical on close examination. However, with the arrival of week 7 in Dunedin, the fantastical clan have started to show signs of expression, after their defensive wall made that one in china, more meccano, by comparison.

7 weeks. 7 wins – even the Lions wins on the Bye.

Is this the Season for the Stormers?

No, I am not meaning another home semi-final!

Will they finally cross the Sahara, and find new sporting life?

For all those who have been on more than one Tour of Duty, you have one bloviating who has known the pain of failed expectations, so I understand reticence to ride this new wave. Your thinking is correct. It is too early to seriously consider such longings for the locals, as there is many-a-mirage with which to ignore on the way. Then again, we are not one to walk the well-worn path on a RugbyJourney – telly-ho, what.

Therefore, in the remaining moments in this reading convocation, let me whisper with reason to be hopeful on the horizon – Storm Saam.

This starts with some non-fat phat

If you want the brutal perception of the historic Stormers pack, and let’s be frank, the Front-Row seemed more intent on loving you to death, instead of hitting like it hurt on the engage and out into open play. Soft. The rise of the Ranga – Kitshoff; the return of Brok back to the fold, with the other – I got picked on when I was a boy in the playground – starting to provide a new culture, seemingly unencumbered by the failings of the past; ready to disassemble. To be sure; the Highlanders are no real test of this growth plate come scrum-time, but it is time for a Greek Wedding, as speaking of getting Frank, they will face the sternest test from a Saders 8 who play to get their h8 on – assuming selection, of course.

There are other names that have the timelines tweeting, one such being the Siya-later-Kid Kolisi. While he has had his moments, the best on opening day when he Caned the opposition, the one standing tallest is South Africa’s very own, Garden of Eben… Etzebeth! Again, the sun is in the early morn of his appearing, but he could just be the new face we love to loathe in South African rugby. Brash; willingness to war; dismissiveness of self, and a hunger to hunt at all costs, mark him out as a special calling. As one who lives a long way from this home, the come and get me response to a Highlanders clean-out, sent my pulse on a road with a little racing.

The White-Picket D Fence

The name, Nienaber, sounds suspiciously like another season, but his style and system is suiting the Stormers who are using their D as the means to unlock the opposition when most vulnerable. If I was a thinking man, I would suggest the best way to beat this Stormers side would be to play it safe, Saam. Conservative. The Highlanders played far too much rugby, for the most part, behind the gain-line, providing the Stormers with a nice inside game of smack that man. As the phases grew in number, so did their resolve, along with the opposition’s frustration. It was only a matter of time before the unstructured reality of turned over ball, opened the door for the Stormers to attack. If the Saders try and get around them, they will likely find that the Stormers will got through them – previous assumptions continuing.

The system is working, and some credit is due. However, it has to be very personal, founded in the growing attitude of iron – ore – in their curtain. There is a resolve into the collision, an acceptance that the price is worth paying, a willingness to work together, with the results proof this is looking very positive.

After all, championships are won on…!

The Draw

The potential in any draw is only made evident if a side is executing, and with three still to play in New Zealand and further West, this is still very much, a one week at a time, proposition. However…

While the Saders in Christchurch should be one of their toughest to play, with a return from the Republic, a more-rested Stormers should be physically prepared. In light of their laaities – I think the term goes – they may decide to call time this weekend, as with the Force and Reds following, both loom as real winning opportunities before the Stormers return home to enjoy the Bye. After that nice rest in some Capetown rain, the Cheetahs and Waratahs at Newlands potentially provide more pain for the tourists, with the following week – 14 – at the Shark tank, a battle that should get all the English-speakers tweeting. What happens next is week 15, which is another date to diarise, with the Bulls returning to play against the Stormers side that has been in the Republic for a handful of weeks. Not a bad time to gather a bottle for the beach from Loftus. You also never know when a white card will offer a load-of-Bull, in NZ?! 16 – Lions at home. 17 – Cheetahs away; finishing with a Bye in week 18, as the Bieber takes over Newlands, as the Rebels arrive – settle down.

This is a draw that should read playoff. Form can slump. Injuries can happen. The opposition can find the key. Nevertheless, the way the Stormers are presently tracking; the return of the Burger fueled in good time; this is a draw that should offer more hope than rope, even in the toughest of contests.

Therefore, this Stormers side should win the South African Conference – even at this point, from this far out, with all that has gone on before.

Oh the joys of pressure!

Will they?

Their closest rival – the Bulls – have the Lions [A], Brumbies [H], Bye [4], Rebels [A], Highlanders [A], and Chiefs [A], before they return on that week 15 for this compelling contest versus the Stormers, at Loftus. We will likely have a better idea at that moment, but how the Stormers perform in their final two matches in Australia – Reds/Force – in contrast to the Bulls in NZ – Highlanders/Chiefs – will set the scene for this clash at Loftus, and the battle for the Conference crown.

We must also remember the 4 week [approx.] international window, following week 15, which takes out most of June. This will provide another twist to this tale.

The Sharks and Cheetahs will proclaim they are still in it to win it, but they will need much help from above and beyond.

Is this the year of the Stormers?

Hope is all you’ve got at this point, but there is reason to hold on.

What Say You?

Shooting from the Lip


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2 Responses to “#supeRUG: The Year of the Jou Lekker Ding?”

  1. clydesta 15. Apr, 2012 at 5:28 PM #

    I’m not holding my breath just yet, JK. Although now that the ‘unbeaten’ run is over, perhaps there will just be a bit less pressure, and hence some more attacking flair.

    • iamjonnyking 16. Apr, 2012 at 7:00 AM #

      Hey Clydesta,

      I would only advise such tactics when under water. ;-)

      Important couple of weeks in Australia after a tough match in Christchurch for the Storm Saam. If they can continue with the intensity, they have all they need to make this a very successful trip abroad.

      New Zealand and South African Conferences both have much intrigue in the coming weeks/months.

      Good to have you expressing the self!

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