Now that the euphoria of winning the United Rugby Championship has died down a bit, it’s time to look to the future.
Too early? Okay, allow me to say well done and thank you to the Stormers first.
From where you guys started out and all the administrative drama that has plagued the union over the last few years, I have nothing but respect for head coach John Dobson for what he achieved in the Mother City over the last while.
Hier is ‘n man wat harde klippe gekou het, but he persevered and remained positive to the point where he eventually won the big prize. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us in Cape Town and for bringing hope and smiles to the Mother City.
Dankie vir die span ook.
Truth bomb - it’s easier to get to the top than it is to stay there. That means the hard work starts now for the Capetonians.
The Stormers have another competition - the Champions Cup - to prepare for next season and that means they will need a bigger squad if they want to be successful in three tournaments.
I agree with Bulls coach Gert Smal, begrawe nou maar die Currie Cup because it’s like the Vodacom Cup. But as it stands, you’ll still need players to play in that competition, the United Rugby Championship and the Champions Cup.
We’ve seen how thin the team got this last season in certain positions and therefore, I am saying - get in there quickly.
With the brand on the up, players would want to move to Cape Town. I am sure that winning the URC will bring all kinds of new opportunities to the franchise, but what is important now is signing the right players at the right price with the right attitude.
Clayton Blommetjies will join the team to add to the fullback stocks after Warrick Gelant left.
In Blommetjies and Damian Willemse the team will have good options at the back of the line. I get the feeling that young Sacha Mngomezulu will be the third option next season in this position - even though I am quite scared that he also becomes like Willemse - a jack of all trades.
Personally, I say pick one position and leave him in it.
Anyway, wings will never be a problem in the Mother City - even if we’re short in this area, it’s not a position where we should go to the winkel for. We’ve got enough talent out wide in Cape Town.
Midfield is my concern. This is where I envision a big investment.
Is Damian de Allende really leaving Munster for Japan? At 30, I feel he is in his prime as an inside centre and until I see confirmation that he is going to the Land of the Rising Sun, I expect the Stormers to test the waters for Milnerton’s own.
He would certainly be welcomed back home with open arms to add to Rikus Pretorius and Dan du Plessis as inside centre options, with Damian Willemse there in case of emergency. I disagree that Willemse has found his place at inside centre, he is not the player to bash it up before the ball goes wide from an attacking set piece.
I remember while watching the Stormers against the Bulls in the URC final thinking that Willemse shouldn’t have been the one to take the ball up there to set up the next phase close to the tryline. He is the type of ball player and runner you want playing off of good, quick, go-forward ball.
That he improved and played well in that position in the emergency is not to be doubted - I was impressed with how he played to the ball on the ground also. But moenie van ‘n race horse n werkesel maak nie. Again, it was needed this term and now we know he can do a really good job at 12. But keep him at 15 for 2023.
Outside of the 12, Ruhan Nel is a good option at 13. However, is he the only option?
I feel investment at outside centre is a must. The Stormers were on the verge of signing Wandisile Simelane a fews seasons back. But then he extended his contract until 2022. That year is on its rug now. Smaak coming to the Cape Wandisile?
Anyway, at 10 future looks rosy. Manie Libbok has proven to be a great signing, while Mngomezulu and Kade Wolhuter (remember him?) are the two for the future. I would not discard Tim Swiel, who as a more kicking option is good to have in your squad.
Scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer has joined the No.9 race and I reckon in him, Godlen Masimla, Herschel Jantjies and Paul de Wet the Stormers are sorted in that department.
Looseforwards we have aplenty - the signing of Willie Engelbrecht from the Pumas was a good one.
It’s in the middle of the engine room where I want to see some cash splashed. With Salmaan Moerat permie injured, the union was a bit thin in this department this season.
And it’s here where I reckon Dobson and his manne will have to do some scouting - especially after David Meihuizen had to retire this year.
I would like them to dig deep for an enforcer-type. It’s a pity they missed out on the opportunity of re-signing Eben Etzebeth, but that’s the sort of player this team needs. Not sure if the attitude will fit in, but the on-field persona is what I believe should be invested in.
Anyway, in the front row hooker was another problem this term. With Joseph Dweba joining, I’m a bit worried about how the coaching stuff will keep everyone happy.
Scarra Ntubeni obviously wants to be a first-choice, and so too Dweba.
Add young gun Andre-Hugo Venter to the mix and you’ve got three hookers who can wear the No.2 jersey any day of the week. In Chad Solomon and JJ Kotze they have enough depth at the franchise.
So while the buzzword will be depth, the Stormers can do themselves no harm in beefing up everywhere - as long as their midfield and second row take priority.