Stormers report card for 2015

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The players

Props

Steven Kitshoff (9)

“Rooi Gevaar” was arguably the best loosehead prop in Super Rugby this year with his unbelievable scrumming and his work-rate around the park. He finally realised his true potential following a couple of poor seasons when it seemed like his focus wasn’t quite on the game of rugby. It’s going to be hard to replace him next season after he moves to France.

Oliver Kebble (6)

The son of the former Springbok prop, Guy, had to be content with a role off the bench, with Kitshoff basically playing all the matches. He did well in most of the matches as an impact player, with his best outing coming against the Bulls at Newlands when he won a scrum penalty against Marcel van der Merwe to help the Stormers secure victory

Alistair Vermaak (5)

After an impressive Currie Cup campaign, Vermaak didn’t quite get the same opportunities this time around. Played a few nice cameos off the bench, but struggled to build on the platform Kitshoff laid in the scrums against the Chiefs. He is very good around the field, but needs to work on his primary job.

Frans Malherbe (8)

Malherbe basically booked his place to the rugby World Cup with an awesome Super Rugby campaign. He never moved backwards in the scrum, and was responsible for the Stormers earning a lot of penalties at this set piece. The Stormers need to pin this guy down on a long-term contract.

Vincent Koch (7)

Koch loses a point because he conceded a fair number of penalties in Super Rugby. But other than that he was another player who shone in the front row. Koch mixed destructive scrumming with good work-rate around the park, as he wasn’t shy to carry the ball up or tackle attackers into the ICU.

Hookers

Scarra Ntubeni (6)

Ntubeni will admit that this wasn’t his best season. His hooking in the scrum was probably his biggest contribution, as the Stormers managed to win a lot of tightheads this season. He was also steady around the park. However, his lineout throwing wasn’t that great.

Bongi Mbonambi (4)

It wasn’t the best season for the man who made his way down from the Bulls. His lineout throwing was awful, and cost the Stormers on a few occasions this season. He made a good contributions around the park, but even that seemed to be affected by his inability to find his jumpers in the latter stages.

Locks

Eben Etzebeth (7)

The Springbok enforcer is almost back to his very best. After missing the start of the campaign because of injury, he has slowly started to regain his best form. Both the Boks and the Stormers are trying to add another string to his bow by helping him to become a No 5 lock. For now, though, they should leave him at No 4 to ignite the fire.

Jean Kleyn (6)

Kleyn has a lot of potential, and could blossom into one the great locks of South Africa. He is physical and is not afraid to get his hands dirty at the rucks and the mauls. However, he needs to show some consistency. With Etzebeth likely to be away with the Boks, Kleyn must use the Currie Cup to grow as a player.

Manuel Carizza (5)

The Argentine lock, as an experienced player, needed to take more control at lineouts. The two hookers are not the only players who are responsible for the catastrophe at this set-piece. Carizza, though, did make more of a contribution than in his first season with the Stormers.

Ruan Botha (6)

In a country where No 5 locks are like hen’s teeth, Botha could be another future star. However, he needs to take ownership as far as his game is concerned. It’s time for this tall fellow to take his game to next level. He stagnated a bit this year. He also needs a good Currie Cup under the belt.

Loose fowards

Duane Vermeulen (5)

The Stormers captain jumped ship during the most important week of the season, and for that he gets marked down. His mere presence on the training ground could have possibly boosted the team ahead of their playoff against the Brumbies. Instead he was being unveiled in France without anybody knowing. It was a terrible thing to do.

Nizaam Carr (5)

This is a Super Rugby campaign the exciting No 8 would want to forget. A virus really disrupted his pre-season preparations, and he never really got going. At his best, Carr is a wonderful ball carrier and a player with vision and skill. But he wasn’t really himself, or at least the player who came to the fore last season.

Schalk Burger (8)

His hair might be starting to fall out, but the old warhorse is still going strong. His work-rate was absolutely phenomenal, and it’s something the Stormers missed during their playoff match against the Brumbies. He also brought another dimension to the Stormers’ attack with his passing game.

Siya Kolisi (6)

It was a bit of mixed bag by the former Grey High pupil, probably brought on by the different roles he had to play on the side of the scrum. So there wasn’t that consistency, either as a fetcher or a ball carrier. However, he was certainly better than in the previous two seasons.

Michael Rhodes (6)

Injuries robbed the big bruiser of a top season. Rhodes is grafter and gets stuck in by doing the dirty work, a job that is often overlooked. He carried the ball up and tackled his heart out for the cause. Unfortunately, injuries meant that he had to build momentum from scratch every time he got back into the team.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe (6)

He didn’t play a lot of matches, but showed that he is a very special talent. Notshe has got plenty of pace and skill, but needs to work on his physicality if he is going to be the complete package.

Scrumhalves

Nic Groom (6)

This was a big season for Groom to prove that he can compete with the big boys at this level. But he also produced a mixed bag, as some of his option-taking and kicking left a lot to be desired.

We also didn’t see enough of his sniping runs around the fringes.

Louis Schreuder (6)

Schreuder should have maybe started more matches than he did this season. His service was tad better this season, while there is nothing wrong with his box kicking. However, the Stormers really need a scrumhalf to take charge at the back of the oven. Not just a waiter.

Flyhalves

Demetri Catrakilis (6)

Lets be honest ... If it wasn’t for his boot, would the Stormers be the South African Conference champions? So why the six then? It’s purely based on his inability to spark the Stormers on attack. Catrakilis won’t lose you a lot of matches, but he won’t win you the Super Rugby trophy either.

Kurt Coleman (4)

A season that promised so much turned out be a nightmare for the young flyhalf, whose confidence wilted under the pressures of Super Rugby. He missed a few penalties against the Cheetahs and the Lions that ended up costing the Stormers dearly. It’s a pity, because he is a genuine footballer. The 30 minutes of rugby against the Chiefs, when he pulled the strings, was the best passage of rugby the Stormers played all season.

Centres

Damian de Allende (8)

De Allende, together with Kitshoff, was probably the Stormers’ best player. The big inside centre took on the responsibility of getting the team over the advantage line and broke the line at will. He was a bit selfish at times, and needs to sum up his options better. But he enjoyed a great season.

Juan de Jongh (6)

The Stormers vice-captain wasn’t quite his explosive self, and one wonders why he didn’t chance his arm more and take on defenders with his deadly step. His defending was also solid and he seems to be maturing as a rugby player with the new leadership role. Lets just hope it doesn’t curb his natural flair.

Huw Jones (5)

Featured a lot off the bench in the early part of the season and scored a nice try against the Hurricanes in his run-on debut. It’s going to be interesting to see how he goes in the Currie Cup, where he might get more gametime.

Wings

Dillyn Leyds (6)

Is wing his best position? Maybe. Maybe not, but in the end Leyds was the Stormers leading try-scorer. The former Bishops boy is an elusive runner and has got a good rugby brain. He also finished off the few chances that came his way. A lot of people seem to think that flyhalf is his best position after excelling at No 10 as a schoolboy.

Seabelo Senatla (6)

He just didn’t see enough of the ball in the four matches he played for the Stormers. Senatla is s supreme finisher, but he was subjected to chasing kicks in most of those matches he played.

Johnny Kotze (6)

This kid has definitely got some talent, and showed some gas too. He is still young, and this Super Rugby season would have definitely given him loads of experience to kick on in the Currie Cup.

Kobus van Wyk (5)

Injuries really curtailed his campaign. After starting slowly, he scored a wonderful try against the Waratahs in Sydney.

But he picked up another injury in the following match that basically ruined his season.

Fullback

Cheslin Kolbe (7)

Kolbe only missed one of the Stormers matches this season, a remarkable effort for such a small guy who was regularly targeted by the opposition. He was really solid under the high ball, and did well defensively, although he was bumped off in two matches against New Zealand opposition. His biggest strength is his attacking play, but Stormers fans only got to see a few glimpses of him with the ball in hand.

The Coaches

Allister Coetzee (7)

Coetzee did well with a team that was largely written off at the start of the campaign. There was also a massive spirit in the team. However, they rarely managed to put the perfect game together, which ultimately cost them a home semi-final.

Robbie Fleck (6)

The Stormers’ attack never really got going, which is rather sad because they got a great platform to work from in terms of their scrum dominance. But they certainly showed a lot more intent on attack than in years gone by.

Matt Proudfoot (7)

The former Scotland prop would have probably earned a nine if it wasn’t for their misfiring lineout.

The Stormers’ scrum was unstoppable, but they just couldn’t get it together at lineout time, while their intent at the breakdown was also inconsistent.

Cape Times

Original source: Stormers report card for 2015

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