News24.com | High-flying, offloading Stormers have winning recipe brewing: ‘Our best performance of the campaign’
Warrick Gelant. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
- The Stormers are in full flight as they continue their winning streak in the United Rugby Championship.
- Up to second on the log, John Dobson’s men have been playing an attacking, attractive brand of rugby.
- The coach described fullback Warrick Gelant as “amazing” following his stellar showing on Friday.
The high-flying Stormers will end this weekend’s United Rugby Championship (URC) action in the second position on the overall log, comfortably the highest-placed South African team.
Friday night’s 32-7 win over Glasgow Warriors at Cape Town Stadium was a commanding one and it showed the Stormers’ finest attacking qualities of skill, pace, precision offloading and game awareness that, more often than not, leads to the correct decision-making.
Flyhalf Manie Libbok is the conductor of the orchestra, but there were stellar performances on Friday from Damian Willemse and Warrick Gelant, who played a half each at fullback after Rikus Pretorius’ injury.
Willemse was equally impactful after he moved to No 12, but with Gelant, the two Springboks were at the heart of seemingly everything memorable the Stormers did on the attack.
The backline receives the credit, because what the Stormers are delivering currently is very easy on the eye, but the work rate of the forwards is equally commendable as it is allowing that space for the playmakers to shine.
There were still issues – the Stormers missed lineout jumpers and too many tackles in the first half – but they were in full flight by the time the match ended as Glasgow was blown off the park.
“I think that second half was probably our best performance of this whole campaign, to my mind,” said coach John Dobson after the match.
Willemse was named man-of-the-match, but Dobson also praised Gelant for the way he broke the game open in that second period.
“Warrick is amazing,” said Dobson.
“I remember people saying about Graeme Pollock that he just had so much time, and Warrick just looks like he has time.”
On the offloading game, Dobson said it fitted in well with the Stormers identity, while he also applauded the work of skills coach Labeeb Levy.
“He loves the offload and comes from a touch rugby background,” said Dobson.
“I know a lot of it is natural skill and can’t be coached, but we play a game of offload touch once or twice a week, and he has done a good job with that.
“It is something we work on, and if you look at our personnel, we’ve got an abrasive pack and some real x-factor in the backs so we work very hard on it.
“I don’t think our DNA is a multi-phased approach, like a lot of these northern Hemisphere sides want to go 20/30 phases and wear sides down, and that’s just not in our personality or DNA. That’s where the offload is so important.”
Next weekend’s clash at Cape Town Stadium will be massive, with the second-place Stormers hosting top-of-the-table Leinster.
Kick-off is at 18:15 on Saturday.