South African Rugby teams have faced a second-rate season in 2016 Super Rugby. The Stormers not only fell out in the first round of the playoffs, but this poor form forced a change in South African rugby. Local franchises were advised to place collective structures of rugby in place and be quicker on the ball at break downs. After the first few weeks to the 2017 year, it seems that the Stormers have best adapted to these changes.
At present the Stormers have proven unbeaten in the 2017 season of Super Rugby, with six wins out of six games. Their embarrassing game against the Chiefs last year served as motivation to redeem themselves, with a 60-21 loss. They have particularly proven their worth in their match against the Chiefs this past weekend at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town. The forced changes by South African rugby and intense training have contributed to their 34-26 win.
Realising the brilliance of New Zealand teams, the Stormers had implemented ‘Kiwi day’; a day of intense training in preparation for playing against these teams. On these days they train longer and harder to be able to perform at optimum level to compete with the best.
Fans showed their enthusiasm at the match on Saturday by flying their flags high and chanting passionately to support their team. A Stormers fan who had suffered an injury during a rugby match described the game to be so thrilling that it has motivated him to play rugby again, despite his injury. Other fans labelled it as “exciting rugby”, with both teams good on the attack. They also mentioned that they enjoyed the fluidity of the game with an unbiased referee.
This past weekend has proven that the effort and hard work of the Stormers is starting to pay off. After defeating one of the best All Black teams in the competition, the Stormers prove to be strong contenders for this year’s Super Rugby Title.