On the eve of the 2014 Super Rugby final we look back at some of the biggest hits the season has given us. The season itself has thrilled from an entertainment point of view and in my opinion there is nothing more exciting than a big hit or two. I’m referring to the type of hit which sees the poor bastard on the receiving end rolling on the floor in pain and the momentum swing in the defending team’s favour. It’s one of the reasons why we play and watch the sport, isn’t it?
The 2014 Super Rugby season will be better forgotten sooner, rather than later, for most Stormers supporters. The season’s results were indicative of a team low on confidence who were playing an outdated style of rugby, which had seen numerous questions being raised over the coaching staff’s aptitude. Although marred by injuries, the team’s positive run of form toward the end of the season – barring perhaps their most recent match against the Sharks – has shown that perhaps a corner has been turned and therefore a glimmer of hope for the future is somewhat, encouragingly, visible. The question is, however, where to for the Stormers and WPRU from here?
We all know that their season has been one to forget and with two rounds left to play in this year’s Super Rugby comp, it’s time to salvage what we can in terms of pride and focus on the future. It feels as though a weight has been lifted off the players and their supporters as the possibility of making the playoffs fell away some time ago and this has seen the team win four of their last five matches. Whilst I would naturally love to see us in a position to win the comp, it’s somewhat surreal watching the players having a go without the weight of expectation upon them. This can most certainly be construed as a defeatist attitude, yet I feel that it is important to take as many positives as we can from a poor season. Forget what’s happening on the log, this is what I’m looking forward to from the Stormers against the Bulls this weekend.
I have avoided posting anything about the Stormers this Super Rugby season. It’s tough being a supporter at the moment and to put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard in this instance – only confirms how horrible it truly has been. However with a well needed break in the form of looming international matches against a World XV, Wales and Scotland, I have found myself reflecting on the season which has been thus far. Besides the serious lack of tries and victories, two things stand out when analysing the Stormers 2014 Super Rugby campaign thus far: Injuries and the lack of quality depth.