The Stormers’ locker room was party central after beating the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final on Saturday, 18 June. The Cape Town franchise getting the proverbial monkey off their back, to earn a first title in their 25 years of existence.

It was sweet, sweet revenge for this new generation of Stormers stars. The old foe – the Bulls slain.

Almost immediately after fly-half, Manie Libbok kicked the Stormers into the final, fans reminisced about the heartbreak felt in the Super Rugby final in 2010.

Back then, the Stormers boasted talents like Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, and Gio Aplon. However, the Bulls had Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, and Morne Steyn. The latter sealed a third – and second successive Super Rugby title on that night in Soweto.

So, you can imagine the relief and ecstasy felt when Stormer’s centre, Damian Willemse, thumped the ball into the crowd to bring about the final whistle. Earning an 18-13 win and URC glory:

Believe it! The party continued late into the night in Cape Town. Here’s the party kicking off in the changing room:

 

And things didn’t end there. The Stormers brought the beautiful URC trophy all the way to our studios and gave us goosebumps with this rendition.

The Stormers and the Bulls will meet this weekend in a massive clash in Cape Town, as the United Rugby Championship (URC) will crown its first champions this coming Saturday, 18 July 2022. And a feather in the cap for South Africa. No matter what happens, the URC trophy will find a home in the Southern Hemisphere.

A shaky start

The South African franchises ran into some trouble in the first couple of rounds. According to pundits, our teams would have a write-off year and needed time to adjust. However, when the Springboks returned from international duty, the momentum shifted.

Home ground also held more of an advantage in this, the inaugural season. A large majority of players played in unfamiliar locations with a lesser familiarity with conditions. That was especially problematic for the teams that played in the Highveld for the first time.

But now, nine months on, the only two teams who remain standing in the URC are the Stormers and the Bulls.

Evan Roos on his way to score a try for the StormersNorth vs South

In North-South derbies, there is rarely much to separate the two sides. It’s always tough, and it’s always physical. Although the Stormers have a decent record against the Bulls in Cape Town, this Bulls team will give it everything they’ve got.

Jake White’s side runs deep in Bulls tradition. Not only do they have sleek attacking prowess, but they also have a massive engine room filled with big boys who like to get under your skin.

To combat that, the Stormers have a collective cool composure about them. There’s an element of maturity to John Dobson’s side.

There is, however, no love lost between these two old adversaries.

The Stormers pack getting ready to scrum against UlsterIt’s a rivalry that dates back to the early days of rugby history in South Africa. Cape Town vs Pretoria. Blue and White vs Baba-Blou. And it’s come down to this. Only one can lift the trophy and usher in a new chapter in South African rugby.

The Stormers have another 5-points in the bag after taking down the Cardiff Blues 40-3 in thier United Rugby Championship encounter at the Cape Town Stadium.

Points, Points and more Points

The Stormers need points, and they need all of them, out of every single game. Good thing they turned up in this URC meeting with Cardiff Blues. It’s been a long, gruelling first 80-minutes at the Cape Town stadium, with the sun still baking down on most of the parts of this beautiful ground. the heat clearly something Cardiff haven’t gotten used to.

The hits have been hard, with the clock stopped every so often. The hits were heard all along the ground, keeping some players from both sides on the floor. Still, those hits were not hard enough to blaze the Stormers’ flair. The first half tries were all well-deserved and the Stormers made full use of the half chances.

Ruhan Nel was the first the visit touch-in-goal, running a lovely supportive line and finishing off a basic two-on-one situation.

Liolin Saz showed real strength to fight through a couple of tackles to just dot the ball down on the line.

Manie Libbok put the first half to bed, receiving the ball in space and running in the 5-meters to get within one try of the bonus point.

A tougher second half

Like the game in Stellenbosch this past weekend, the Northern Hemisphere side seemed to come out of the break with a bit more fire in their belly. The first 15-minutes a grind for the Capetonians.

While the Stormers enjoyed the lions’ share of the possession in favourable areas of the field, they just couldn’t find the final touch. They would do all the hard work to get into the 22-area of Cardiff, just to lose the ball.

The Stormers finally added their first set of points 21-minutes into the second half. It Came from broken play as Deon Fourie executed a fantastic turnover, and fed a dangerous Stormers backline with the opposition defensive line in disarray.

Bonus point secured, and then some.

Evan Roos then scored a screamer of a solo try. Breaking through an attempted double tackle, before pinning his ears back to run in a 40-meter try.

The Stormers then started to run riot. Ricus Pretorious one-upped Evan Roos, running off some Seabelo Senatla magic, selling a beautiful dummy, and running in 50-meters to dot down next to the poles.

 

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Siya Kolisi is the SA Rugby Player of the Year for 2021, after the popular Springbok captain garnered the most votes for his performances during a tough season, while the exciting Aphelele Fassi underlined his great potential by winning the Young Player of the Year award.

The 30-year-old Kolisi edged out strong challenges from his national teammates Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Eben Etzebeth and Makazole Mapimpi to become the first Bok captain since Jean de Villiers in 2013 to win the top award.

Kolisi – who was named the MTN Springbok of the Castle Lager Lions Series last year and was the only Springbok to play in all 13 Tests in 2021 – led South Africa to a superb series victory over the British & Irish Lions in August and went on to captain the side under difficult circumstances in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which culminated with a nail-biting win over the All Blacks.

Fassi made his Springbok debut in 2021 and although he featured in only two Tests – scoring superb tries on both occasions – he showed that he is one for the future playing with increased maturity at fullback and on the wing.

As a result of showing true grit while spending five months in various bio-secure bubbles in South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom and delivering some outstanding performances – notably coming from 1-0 down to clinch the Castle Lager Lions Series – the Springboks were named Team of the Year for 2021.

In a brand-new category, Lusanda Dumke was named Springbok Women’s Player of the Year, while the Border captain also walked away with the award for Provincial Women’s Player of the Year after leading her side to the Women’s Premier Division title.

Ronald Brown capped a fine debut season for the Blitzboks as he was named Springbok Sevens Player of the Year at the SA Rugby Awards, while Henco van Wyk’s performances in the Under-20 International Series saw him walk away with the award for Junior Springbok Player of the Year.

Aimee Barrett-Theron capped a remarkable season by winning the OUTsurance Referee of the Year at the SA Rugby Awards for the second time after she also walked away with the accolade in 2019.

Another new award at the SA Rugby Awards, the Castle Lager Test Try of the Year – which was voted for by supporters on various digital platforms – went to Cheslin Kolbe for his superb and crucial try in the third Test against the British & Irish Lions in Cape Town.

The Vodacom Bulls’ second successive Carling Currie Cup title was reflected as Jake White was named Coach of the Year for the second year running, while their up-and-coming loose forward Elrigh Louw edged out teammate Johan Goosen and co-flanker Evan Roos in the race to Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year.

The award for Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year, which wasn’t contested in 2020, was won by Dylan Maart of the Boland Kavaliers, whose eight tries were the most in the competition last year.

Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, congratulated the winners of the SA Rugby Awards and applauded their achievements in 2021.

 

“Siya led from the front as the Springboks completed what was arguably their toughest season – for many reasons – in a very long time,” said Mr Alexander.

 

“Supported very well by Jacques Nienaber and his coaching team, as well as his teammates, Siya showed true leadership under challenging conditions, and he became better as the year progressed, which culminated with a spot in the World Rugby Dream Team for 2021, along with Makazole, Lukhanyo, Eben and Malcolm Marx.

“Aphelele is a star in the making and last year we saw glimpses of what he can do, which is why he fully deserves the award for Young Player of the Year, while Cheslin’s try-scoring exploits are well-documented and his excellent five-pointer in the final Test against the Lions was crucial in helping the Boks clinch the series.

“Lusanda, Ronald and Henco are all deserved winners after stellar performances as three of our other national teams kept the South African flag flying high around the world.

“I would like to congratulate Jake and the Vodacom Bulls on their season, as well as Elrigh, Dylan and Lusanda again for showing that our provincial game is as strong as ever, with the two Carling Currie Cup competitions as well as the Women’s Premier and First Divisions delivering superb rugby all season long.

“As we gear up for what promises to be a massive year ahead, I would like to congratulate every winner on their SA Rugby awards, but would also like to thank every player, coach, administrator, referee, sponsor and all other role players for making 2021 a season to remember.”

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

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All of former Blitzbok, Werner Kok’s Sevens jerseys have been stolen after bandits broke into a storage facility in Cape Town and robbed him of priceless artefacts on Wednesday 1 December.

Werner Kok beating an opponent and running with the balll
Credit – World Rugby twitter

The 28-year-old took to his Instagram Stories to confirm the news. In the short clip, a visibly upset Kok calls on residents of the Mother City to be on the lookout for someone selling the jerseys.

“It’s tough for me this video,” the Sevens star started. Ten angry face emojis placed just above him to emphasise his dismay….I really need your help. All my Springbok Sevens jerseys have been stolen in Cape Town.”

What’s missing?

It’s been confirmed that the storage facility is situated near the Canal Walk area and includes irreplaceable items. From personal milestones, like his 50th Sevens Series tournament, to memorabilia from his school days.

Most of the Jerseys have the number 5 on the back.

If anyone has information, either give Smile 90.4fm a call on 021 818 8904 – or send Werner Kok a DM.

It’s been a wonderful career thus far.

Kok made his debut for Blitsbokke in 2013 at the showpiece in London and won the Bronze medal with the side at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. After that, Kok made the move back to the 15-man version of the game in the same year. He signed with the Western Province and now ploughs his trade at the Sharks.

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