Stormers Spear-tackled

The Stormers will get “blown away” in the Super 14, according to Peter de Villiers, the coach on the receiving end of a 73-5 caning from the Cape side on Saturday.

Clearly agitated, De Villiers refuted claims that he had instructed the Spears to spoil, despite the sin-binning and red card handed out by referee Marius Joncker in the first half.

“If the Stormers play like that in the Super 14, they’ll get blown off the field,” De Villiers told “Eugene [Maqwelana - the prop who was sent off] was bitten first, the blood was pouring from his ear. He shouldn’t have retaliated but he did, I’m not condoning that but I can promise you he was not the instigator. These people have a history. Schalk Burger gets yellow carded every week internationally and then suddenly he’s this angel. Come on. They got away with a helluva lot that they won’t be in Super 14, and the fact that my guys responded to their approach meant we played with 14 men for 57 minutes, and that’s why the score was so emphatic. Not because they played well.”

De Villiers believes that the Stormers’ intention was to instigate “problems” from the kick-off, thus destabilising his youthful side.

“People say I instructed our players to play beyond the law, but it’s the opposite way round actually. I heard from inside their squad that they wouldn’t take any nonsense, and our guys heard that too. When we were on the field and saw how they were playing, my guys made the decision that they weren’t going to allow them to push us around. We had no protection from the referee so either we could be bullied or respond in kind. We chose the latter.

“One thing people can’t take away from me is the fact that I won’t ever waste people’s time. We have never practised to play outside the law. Never once have I told a player to do anything outside the law. I will never do a thing like that. I’m no loser, but winning isn’t everything. It’s important that my side plays the game in the right spirit, and I honestly don’t believe that was possible this weekend.”

De Villiers reserved special criticism for the Stormers management.

“They are an entity that demands respect, with 10 Boks in their starting team. Why, then, don’t they play to their strengths and stick to the law? When they needed to use their head to win the game, in the first half an hour, the score stayed at 0-0. Only when we had effectively shot ourselves in the foot by getting someone sent off did they build some momentum and built up a big margin on the the scoreboard. They really didn’t lool that good, they couldn’t help themselves when they had to. They had to wait for us to make way for them by becoming ill-disciplined before they did anything respectable. I have studied the game and I can’t believe how much they got away with. There’s no other way to say this, the refereeing was biased on Saturday.

“I think some serious questions have to be asked. I mean look at the case of [flyhalf] Isma-eel Dollie. He was chased away from Cape Town because he was told he couldn’t tackle. Look how he tackled on the field on Saturday. He was the best 10 on the field and showed a lot of so-called talent spotters up.”

De Villiers’ side have now lost consecutively to the Cheetahs, Cats and Stormers, and believes public perception has already turned against them as a result.

“I don’t know what to feel. I read in the papers about court cases that will be launched to prevent us from joining the Super 14. There is a conspiracy against this side and now it’s extending to the fied. The Stormers were not a good advertisement for South African rugby on Saturday, and I wouldn’t be so positive if I were them. They used experienced internationals to distract our guys. They’re young and maybe naive, so if that is the victory they wanted, well they got it. I wouldn’t be proud of it.”