Stormers deliver blows again at Kingspark

Henry

The spectators (31,093) marched in their thousands to Kingspark in Durban today to support the Sharks (and surely also the Stormers), but then they had to return home disappointed.

The Stormers, who beat the Sharks 16-15 in the first of the United Rugby Championship games in December, now followed it up with a 25-21 victory after leading 15-7 at half-time.

The Stormers, who last lost to a South African team in 2021 when the Lions beat them, have sky-high confidence and momentum.

Even if they play poorly that day, they know how to win. They are also very well coached.

The Sharks lack that confidence and momentum.

The home team won enough possession, they had a territorial advantage and on top of that the Stormers were punished with a yellow card after the winger Leolin Zas slapped the ball forward with the Sharks on the attack.

So where did things go wrong for the Sharks?

They seem to be playing without confidence and there is very little momentum. They no longer know what it means to win and maybe they are trying too hard.

They have a wealth of talented players and it is teeming with Springboks (there were ten in the group today), but they are not getting over the line.

Perhaps they are trying too hard to play the vivid rugby advocated by the coach, John Plumtree.

They may be just one win away from reversing the losing streak, although it is already too late for this season’s United Rugby Championship as they remain stuck last.

For the Stormers, it was not their best performance, as there were too many mistakes and wrong decision-making for that.

But they keep winning, even though they fielded quite a few rookies against some of the Sharks’ tough beards.

The statistics tell the story: The Stormers have now won six of their last six games.

The Stormers have won four of their last five games against the Sharks, while they drew 22-22 in 2022.

Can the Sharks turn it around?

Absolutely, if they can regain confidence and momentum.

Scorers: Stormers 25 (15): Tries: Joseph Dweba, Paul de Wet, Ben Loader. Goals: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu. Penalty goals: Feinberg-Mngomezulu (2).

Sharks 21 (7): Tries: Ox Nche, James Venter, Bongi Mbonambi. Goal kicks: Curwin Bosch, Siya Masuku (2).