When someone is up in your face all the time, sometimes the best thing to do is just to land a straight punch right between their blinkers and claim your space.
If there’s no way around them, go over them or through them.
I wanted to land one right on the nose of whoever dared to be in my face while watching the Stormers versus the Sharks last Saturday.
My source of frustration was the way the Cape boys failed to deal with the Sharks’ rush defence and how – from my couch – they looked like they badly needed a bulldozer to skraap die pad skoon.
If you look closely at the first two tries they scored early in the game you’ll see how lock JD Schickerling shrugged off the first tackle and then powered through with a leg drive to straighten the line.
This, after the team had gone backwards following tackles on prop Steven Kitshoff and fullback Damian Willemse.
Anyway, Schickerling straightened the line well, before the ball went wide and centre Ruhan Nel then cut in field nicely to set up No.9 Herschel Jantjies for the try.
It didn’t look like the Sharks were expecting that “direct” confrontation, instead thinking they would drive the Stormers to run themselves out of space on the field.
A few minutes later, from a turnover it was Schickerling again that straightened the line and demanded the attention of three defenders before the ball went wide to Kade Wolhuter, who threw a dummy and two on-rushing Sharks defenders were beaten, before he offloaded to Pretorius to score.
Wolhuter didn’t bulldoze the opponents, but he attacked the line straight.
The scoreboard read 17-0 to the Stormers before all hell broke loose and they lost the game 33-30.
What frustrated me most in the game was not the red cards or Nel’s failed attempt to dot down the ball on the final whistle. Instead, it was the Stormers’ inability to beat the rush defence.
They tried everything – chip kicks, grubbers, cross kicks, but what they need is a juggernaut.
Centre Rikus Pretorius I believe is a player that can fulfil that role, but he is still a bit green and maybe with a more experienced flyhalf on his inside things will go better.
But that’s my biggest wish for this week – to see someone in the Stormers backline taking the direct route.