If this wasn’t the Stormers worst of the season against a side that won away from home for the first time, it is best not to know what was.
It was a matter of sheer guts in adversity that carried the Brumbies to their second successive win against a South African side after beating the Lions tourists last week. The score at Newlands was 19-17.
The Stormers had more than two-thirds of the possession, were in the Brumbies half for more than 70% of the match – and lost.
They scored one try and a penalty try to the visitors three, ran 477 metres to 157, carried the ball 170 times to 72, beat 20 defenders against the Brumbies six , made more clean breaks; the also won 132 rucks and mauls to the Brumbies 60 – and still lost the game.
It was shocking ineptitude, added to arrogance in not taking seven, yes seven, shots at goal with the belief that they would maul through or scrum the visitors into a pulp.
But they didn’t against a side that, to use the cliché, put their bodies on the line and wanted to win. This is shown up by the near-unbelievable 246 tackles made by the Brumbies, of which they missed only 20, compared to the 95 (six missed) by the Capetonians.
There is something seriously amiss in the Stormers side. They made 15 handling errors, their backs crabbed across the field due to their alignment on attack and their options were generally poor.
The Brumbies used a very effective rush-defence, and the Stormers backs simply couldn’t cope. They will have to work on this aspect before next week’s match against the Bulls, who are probably one of the best in this facet.
Hats off to the Brumbies, who generally, and especially in the first half, dominated the collisions and more frequently made the better calls in their attacks, with their running and handling also better than that of the home side.
Stormers (10) 17: Tries: Penalty try, Wilco Louw. Conversion: Josh Stander. Penalty: Stander.
Brumbies (12) 19: Tries: Pete Samu, Rory Arnold, Tom Banks. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (2).