Open letter to Gert Smal
After a much better start than last year, the Stormers have now lost their last two games against Kiwi teams.
Yes, they did beat the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Blues (but who didn't).
However, they were found wanting with pure offloading skills, angled running lines, support runners and the fast tempo the Kiwis play with when they faced the Chiefs and Highlanders.
It is a pleasure to see the New Zealand team attack space and support each other.
The Stormers' biggest improvement is in the scrums.
They are excellent there and Steven 'Vlam' Kitshoff should have been part of Heyneke Meyer's Bok squads in some capacity already. He's workrate is enormous, while Vincent Koch has also impressed at tight head, a position where SA is still struggling to find a dominant No.3. Will 'Vlam' be a future international prop in the French tradition – ala Pieter de Villiers?
The biggest problem is and will be that the Stormers don't have a general – a world class flyhalf to dictate the game with boot and/or attack with ball in hand.
Dimitri Catrakilis is a sharp-shooter and won Currie Cups for WP. He, however, is not going to be good or effective enough at this level.
He can kick with both feet, yes, that is a huge skill. However, he plays too far behind the gainline.
Kurt Coleman plays closer and has better attacking skills, but, he will not dominate the whole season.
What other options are there? Robert du Preez jnr? Jean-Luc du Plessis is doing well in the Vodacom Cup, but, like Brent Russell and Hans Scriba, he will be seen as a liability as they are 'too small'.
Rubbish I say.
Gert Smal has done wonders in a short time. He bought good players and with Jano Vermaak apparently on the way to the 'Mother City' Gert should now get a world class flyhalf.
Yes, it might be too late for this season. Strategic planning for next year perhaps?
After this year's World Cup players will look for new challenges.
The Sharks did have various Frenchies like Thierry Lacroix and Frederic Michalak improve their squads, while in 2008 Tony Brown did have a stint in the Cape. Matt Toomua also ran out in the 'white and blue hoops'.
Truth be told, that in the seventies WP did well and Robbie Blair could kick, but, it took someone like Michael du Plessis to change things around!
Should Gert have tried harder to get Joe Pietersen back?
Gert, the bottom line is that for the Stormers to win Super Rugby they will need a world class general!
AussieBoer (Kevin D)