Picture: 123RF/Wavebreak Media Ltd
Picture: 123RF/Wavebreak Media Ltd

While the Currie Cup is their ultimate prize this season‚ the Stormers have not yet abandoned hope of winning the Super Rugby Unlocked title.

Having to play four away matches and only two at home in Super Rugby Unlocked‚ the dice was always going to be loaded against the Stormers. But that scenario will switch around in the Currie Cup.

That is where they see their most likely success.

Their prospects of winning the title hangs by the thinnest of threads, with the Bulls likely to take the inaugural crown if they beat the Pumas in their final league match at home.

The Stormers have to win with a bonus point this weekend at home against the Cheetahs and repeat the feat away to the Sharks next weekend to stand a chance of catching up with the Bulls. Even then, they will need the Pretoria side to trip up.

Somehow though‚ there is still some bullishness in the Cape.

“I think any team can win on any given day‚ so the competition is far from over. I wouldn’t say that it is just a case of us accepting that the Bulls have won Super Rugby‚” said Norman Laker‚ Stormers defence coach.

Part of Laker’s defence was the capricious nature of Super Rugby Unlocked. Even the powerful Bulls came up short away against the Cheetahs early in the competition.

“The season has been very unpredictable. Griquas nearly beat the Bulls in the opening game‚ the Pumas took 60 against the Cheetahs and then beat Griquas in Kimberley‚ which isn’t easy to do‚ and then came close to beating us in Nelspruit. So you can’t say the competition is over‚ the Bulls still have to play the Pumas‚” Laker said.    

It is also worth noting that apart from the fluctuating fortunes of the teams in Super Rugby Unlocked‚ some matches came to an unconventional ending. The Lions and Cheetahs had to share two log points each because their match never took place following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Lions camp.

The Stormers will also recall‚ not so fondly‚ that their match against the Bulls came to a premature end as a result of a thunderstorm that was closing in on Loftus Versfeld stadium. The Bulls had by then secured the result with the score 39-6 in their favour.

Laker conceded that the Stormers still face a tall order and need some luck if they are going to deny the Bulls the title.

“While it would be easy to say the Bulls are on the road to the title‚ there can still be an upset. At the same time‚ we still have to play the Cheetahs and Sharks in our final two games‚ so we are not looking at the log at the moment‚ we are just focusing on improving our performances week by week.”


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