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VIDEO: Springbok's sage advice to struggling Stormers

The Stormers are desperate to put their United Rugby Championship campaign back on track, but they may have to ‘return to basics’ to do so.


This is the sage advice from retired former Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers, a man of great wisdom and insight when it comes to the Western Cape franchise.

The Stormers, after a scratchy Round One win over the Lions (35-33) and a rout of a hapless Scarlets team (52-7), have yet to win on tour – losing to the Warriors in Glasgow (9-20) and Benetton in Treviso (17-20).

They face their toughest Test of the season when they travel to Limerick on Friday to face the defending champion Munster team at Thomond Park.

With none of their World Cup Springboks available yet and the loss of some key players to injury, the task just became so much more arduous.

De Villiers suggested the best way to end a losing streak is to go back to the ‘conservative route’ – doing the “simple things” right.

“[If you have] a two-one-one, you draw the man and pass the ball,” the 42-year-old said.


“You need to be able to do that 10 out of 10 times.”

He suggested that they should avoid ‘overcomplicating’ plays.

“The X-factor stuff will happen, because you have those players in your team,” De Villiers told a URC media round table event this week.

“A Warrick Gelant is the kind of guy that can bring that X-factor to the Stormers.


“[However], that happens naturally because of their ability.

“Getting the basics right is where you win games you are not meant to win, that is where you win tournaments.

“You don’t want to box them in and always create an environment where they can express themselves, but it is about getting the balance right between the two – have the foundations where you do the simple things right and then give them the freedom to be able to do the other stuff.”

(WATCH as retired former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers shares his insights on how the Stormers can solve some of their problems…)

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Addressing perceived issues around decision-making – when to take kicks at goal and when to play – De Villiers said that is a ‘leadership issue’.

“From a Stormers perspective, you need to realise they probably are lacking a little bit in terms of a leadership point of view,” said the man that sits third on the list of all-time most Tests as Bok skippers.

“The players they have lost and the quality they have lost in terms of leadership will take time [to replace].

“Knowing the coaching staff in this Stormers team, they like the creativity and giving the players the freedom to play.

“You can do that, as long as your foundation is strong and you do the basics right.”

De Villiers certainly knows what he is talking about.

After more than 150 games for Western Province and the Stormers, with a stint (20-odd games) playing for Munster in between, he understands what makes the Cape Town-based franchise tick over.

He retired after playing the last of his 109 Tests against Samoa at Villa Park, Birmingham, in the 2015 World Cup.

De Villiers captained the Boks in 37 of those Tests, putting him third on the list of most capped Springbok skippers.


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