The Waratahs hopes of securing a finals spot in this year’s Super Rugby were all but dashed when they were defeated by the Stormers 19-13 in Cape Town over the weekend.
Again in was a match of two halves with the Stormers dominating the first half to lead 16-3 at the break after playing attacking rugby with the ball in hand unlike the Waratahs who put up a barrage of high balls with little return.
Waratahs No.10 Berrick Barnes never made much of an attempt to put the football through the hands and he kicked consistently which played in the hands of the Stormers.
Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen and winger Gio Aplon took everything the Waratahs could throw at them and quickly defused the aerial assault to give the Stormers the advantage.
Pietersen opened the scoring for the Stormers when he scored in the left corner after sixteen minutes to give the lead which the Waratahs failed to capture for the rest of the match.
I would have thought that the Waratahs would have been desperate to win this game to stay in the race but their tactics were mis-guided in thinking that the monotonous kicking was ever going to win them the match.
The Stormers second try came in the thirty second minute after some great ball skills from their forwards to put hooker Tiaan Liebenberg in the right corner to give the Stormers a healthy lead.
After trailing the Waratahs for the first quarter of the game the Stormers managed to rally back with some entertaining rugby to control the back end half of the first half to finish with an overall possession statistic of seventy percent which reflected on the scoreboard.
The Waratahs played much better in the second half but unfortunately they wasted the first forty minutes so it was a matter of playing catch up football and it didn’t take them long to score their first and only try.
After two minutes into the second half the Waratahs centre Rob Horne crossed the line after some great lead up work from their forwards replacement lock Kane Douglas and flanker Dave Dennis to trail the Stormers 16-8.
By this stage Barnes had stopped the incessant kicking and the Waratahs started to look like they knew what they were doing and they should have taken the lead when prop Sekope Kefu dropped the ball a couple of metres out from the Stormers try line.
With penalties to both Peter Grant for the Stormers and Brendan McKibbin for the Waratahs the final score was 19-13 with the best team winning.
The Stormers are at the top of the Super Rugby table and they deserve to be because they play with the right spirit that is enjoyed by all their players and it will take a good team to defeat them especially playing in South Africa.
Fullback Joe Pietersen is only slight in stature but he plays with a big heart and gets involved in every aspect of the game which motivates his team-mates to rise to the occasion unlike the Waratahs who think they can win by simply going through the motions.
For the Waratahs their season has just about come to an end after playing much of the year without many of the star players due to injury which shouldn’t be used as an excuse for many of their poor performances in 2012.
They have lost four games in a row and eight losses from twelve matches which isn’t championship material and their coach former Wallabies hooker Michael Foley will struggle to hold onto his position.
Players like Rocky Elsom and Adam Ashley-Cooper look disinterested and make little or no impact on the game anymore and it is about time that there was a thorough clean out of the Waratahs administration, team management and players roster.