Blatant TMO mistake takes much of the gloss off Stormers performance

Blatant TMO mistake takes much of the gloss off Stormers performance

Who knows, perhaps the performance by the Stormers against Crusaders at Newlands on Saturday is the blueprint that is needed for the Rugby World Cup.

The scores were tied at 19-all, and for that the home side at a controversial (in fact, an unbelievably wrong) call by Marius Jonker, one of four World Cup TMO’s, to thank.

The try by winger Sevu Reece four minutes from fulltime went out backwards from the passer’s hands, and when Reece caught it he was still behind the passer who had moved forward.

It would have been the winner and brought a bonus point as the Crusaders were leading the try-scoring by three tries to one before that.

It is a pity that such a blatant mistake should take some of the gloss off the Stormers performance.

♦ But that’s where the Stormers luck stops.

The Springboks in their pack were outstanding to a man, with especially the performances of man-of-the-match Pieter-Steph du Toit, his co-flank for the Cape side and the Springboks Siya Kolisi and Eben Etzebeth something special.

Not far behind were the other Springboks, props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe in place of Wilco Louw who withdrew before the match, and hooker Bongi Mbonambi.  

The latter had to leave the field after 31 minutes because of what seemed like a leg muscle injury.

The Stormers forwards set the pattern, but the backs’ contribution was also immense.

They rushed the very dangerous Crusaders backs out of their rhythm and into unfamiliar mistakes – and considering that the side contained nine All Blacks, including the three dangerous inside backs Richie Mo’unga, Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodhue, the Stormers performance was something special.

The visitors were never allowed to really settle, but they were also not at their very best. Perhaps they expected a runaway win like the one against the Bulls the previous week.

It does not alter the fact that the Crusaders were uncomfortable against the pressure and aggression of the Stormers, who deserved the draw despite the forward pass controversy.

And in that observation, perhaps, lies the way forward that Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus may consider.

♦ For the record: the Stormers were 10-0 to the good after an impressive first quarter that included a surprise try set up by good line-running and nifty footwork by Kolisi. Then followed two excellent tries by Crusaders from a lineout maul where they caught the home side unawares at the front of the lineout. A try by David Havili put them 12-10 up at halftime.

They stretched it to 19-10 after Braydon Ennor’s try five minutes after the turnover before the home side opted for the security of three easy penalty conversions, with the last coming two minutes after fulltime when Jean-Luc du Plessis slotted the kick.

Scorers –

Stormers (12) 19: Try: Siya Kolisi. Conversion: Josh Stander. Penalties: Josh Stander (2), Jean-Luc du Plessis (2).
Crusaders (10) 19: Tries: Matt Todd, David Havili, Braydon Ennor. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (2).