Wanted: A flyhalf and/or a therapist

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It was a majestic sight. I even took a picture.

It was a lovely distraction for the fans on the Railway Stand whose eyes were subjected to the rubbish the Stormers dished up.

It was a diversion from an error-strewn performance, and the type of one-dimensional play that so many people and coaches in this country still seem to believe is the key to winning Super Rugby titles. Once again this antiquated approach failed to deliver for the Stormers in yet another playoff match.

Just a few hours earlier, the Highlanders were just the latest team to dispell the myth that you only need to rely on defence and a good kicking game to win a playoff. They provided ample proof on Saturday morning against the Chiefs of what can be achieved if you approach the match with positive intent.

They threw the ball in quickly whenever they had the chance, while they always looked for support and offloaded the ball in the tackle. This created momentum, and space for their outside backs to have a real crack.

The Stormers’ coaching staff have been down this road before, and have not taken any lessons to heart from previous failures in the playoffs.

The Stormers, for the better part of 2015, have shown a degree of positive intent. Mostly, though, that intent hasn’t been converted into tries, which I think has got more to do with personnel than a mind shift.

The debate surrounding the Stormers’ flyhalf berth has left beer stains on many bar counters throughout the Mother City.

I have been sent some vile emails throughout Super Rugby because of my view that you need more than just an accurate goal-kicker at No 10 to win Super Rugby.

I backed Kurt Coleman during the season because I think he brings a lot more to the party than Demetri Catrakilis. But my Twitter mentions went crazy after Coleman’s goal kicking cost the Stormers dearly in a few matches. But my mentions were rather quiet on Saturday night when Catrakilis contributed greatly to the Stormers’ demise.

Yes, he didn’t miss any kicks at goal, but he didn’t find touch on two occasions that led to two Brumbies tries. Catrakilis was also guilty of aimless kicking, and a few pointless up-and-unders, which Brumbies fullback Jessie Mogg easily collected.

Was this the gameplan? Maybe. The execution of those kicks were poor anyway.

But the biggest disappointment was that he again couldn’t spark the Stormers’ backs. He sits too deep in the pocket, and that allowed the Brumbies’ rush defence to wash over the Cape side’s one-off runners like a tidal wave. Only inside centre Damian de Allende was able to break and get over the advantage line at regular intervals.

The Stormers needed Coleman in the second half, but such is the coaching staff’s confidence in him, and his belief in himself, that the Cape side tried to play catch-up with a player who is more comfortable directing play with his boot rather than skill.

Take nothing away from the Brumbies, they were mean in defence and David Pocock to was unstoppable at the breakdown. But the Stormers made it easy for the Brumbies to smash them backwards, as the Stormers telegraphed every one-off runner.

Catrakilis couldn’t help the Stormers create that space for the likes of Seabelo Senatla and Cheslin Kolbe to have a crack in the Brumbies’ 22.

Instead, Kolbe himself put up a few puzzling high kicks, even when the time was running out on the clock. Stormers scrumhalf Nic Groom also kicked poorly.

And in the end that was the difference between the two teams, as the Brumbies took their chances beautifully. Plus they played with positive intent.

Certainly, the fact that Bongi Mbonambi couldn’t find his lineout jumpers, and Pocock’s powerhouse showing at the breakdown, also contributed to the defeat. The Stormers also played with the intensity of someone in a coma. But at the end of the day the Stormers had more than enough ball to play with. It’s just that their playmaker couldn’t get them playing.

The Stormers desperately need a quality flyhalf, and a good therapist who can get Coleman’s head together. Without a flyhalf, or flyhalves, who can win you a match with the boot as well as with skill, the Cape fans will again glance up at the mountain for some solace next year.

*Send us your views to John.Goliath@inl.co.za - Cape Times

Original source: Wanted: A flyhalf and/or a therapist

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