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VIDEO: The real cubage and caliber of forwards the Stormers have lost

The Stormers are not yet ready to reach for the panic button, despite the ‘less than satisfactory’ results this season.

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Winners of the inaugural United Rugby Championship and runners up in season two, the Stormers are struggling to get back to the same lofty standards their set for the past two years.

It also does not help that they have lost a few more of their classy Springboks to teams abroad and started the season without their World Cup-winning internationals – who remain on a compulsory three-week break.

The Stormers are certainly keen to end their winless start to their latest European venture – with losses to Warriors (20-9 at Scotstoun Stadium) and Benetton (20-17 at Stadio Monigo).

On Saturday they are facing defending champions Munster – in a repeat of last season’s Final – at Thomond Park.

Having never beaten the Limerick-based Irish province, there was is the question of ‘potential panic’ in the camp.

However, assistant coach Rito Hlungwani said the Stormers have been in this situation before and will just keep working on improving their own game.

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The forwards mentor said it is simply a case of ‘improving every week’, almost like putting one foot in front of the other.

“We know we are not where we want to be,” he said.

Hlungwani described as “part of the job” the process of getting a severely depleted pack of forwards up to the required standards to be title contenders in the URC.

(WATCH as forwards coach Rito Hlungwani chats to @king365ed about the cubage and caliber of forwards the Stormers have lost in recent years and how they are dealing with it..)

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“When I started coaching at the Stormers, we had Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, JD Schickerling, Steven Kitshoff [the most recent departure] and Wilco Louw.

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“Those guys all left,”he told @rugby365com, adding: “I had to adapt and find a way to improve the guys we had.

“We found that improvement and won the URC [in 2022].

“It is a similar position we find ourselves in now.

“I have experienced it before.

“I feel really comfortable and confident – through the relationship I have built with the forwards and the rest of the team – that we will get that improvement.”

He pointed to young forwards like Gary Porter and Ben-Jason Dixon, whom he has know since their age-group days, as examples of players he believes will rise to the challenge.

“It is for me, and collectively as coaches, to ensure we get them to the level we want them to be.

“Yes, we have lost a lot of experience.

“However, it is not the first time, but we are backing the players to get to the level we want them to be at.

“Very confident in the current crop of players.”

Hlungwani said it is difficult to put a timeframe of getting the team to the required standard, because different players grow and improve at different paces.

“The toughest thing in coaching is to find improvement when you are winning,”he told @rugby365com, adding: “Now we have lost and had a couple of lessons.

“Now it is easy to identify the aspects [of our game] we can improve.

“Hopefully that will speed up the process a bit.

“There is improvement every day, improvement in how we give each other feedback. There is improvement in how the players are learning, improvement in how they are training and in due time we will get to the standard we really want.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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