Stormers battle in Boland heat

The Stormers beat the Kavaliers comfortably but struggled for synergy in their first hit-out of the season.

This match was always going to be more a glorified training exercise than anything else. The young and largely inexperienced Stormers side racked up seven tries in the 45-14 win in Wellington, but they battled for consistency in certain areas of the game.

Coach Allister Coetzee opted to start a team devoid of any current Springboks and very few established Super Rugby players, as he felt this match would give the players an opportunity to stake their claim as well as the coaches a chance to gauge the fringe players’ aptitude.

There were players that shone, like centre JP du Plessis who made some exciting breaks in midfield. However, these cameos needed to be viewed in context as for large parts of the game, the Boland defence was poor.

New Stormers recruits Gerhard van den Heever and Burton Francis did not have an especially memorable outing. Van den Heever battled to get involved from the fullback position while Francis looked very rusty at flyhalf.

Kurt Coleman, who made his Super Rugby debut last year, enjoyed more attacking success when he replaced Francis in the second half once the game had opened up. Unfortunately, Coleman’s goal-kicking was worryingly poor. It mattered little in the context of this match, but his poor striking of the ball requires remedying if he’s to be considered a realistic option for the Stormers.

Nizaam Carr shone when he was allowed the space to run, but generally the Stormers pack did not look particularly imposing at the breakdown. Their scrum also wobbled in the second half and it was veteran tighthead Brok Harris who was repeatedly penalised by the referee.

Coetzee is likely to play more of his best players in the next two warm-ups against the Lions and Cheetahs. These fixtures will witness more of a contest and be more indicative of the Cape franchise’s form, as both the Lions and Cheetahs boast players capable of competing at Super Rugby level.