Dear Stormers, enough is enough

Sent to the Stormers management team, with Grunt editor Tank Lanning cc’d, a letter from an unhappy Stormers fan titled “A letter from my heart” …

This is about the 50th email I have been cc’d on, all with the same theme, so I made the call to publish one of them … Word for word … There is a fair amount of unhappiness amongst the Stormers fans it seems …

“To all,

Never in my life I felt so disappointed as today 🙁 My father introduced me to rugby when I was only 12 years old and that was in 1983. For the last 30 years of my life I have supported the Stormers and Western Province team. I have met my husband through the same team we supported and fell in love with him just because he was a WP supporter. We as a family have traveled miles to just watch the games were we could see them play. We traveled all the way to Durban to watch them play in the Currie cup final October 2012. That trip alone cost us over R17000.00. No money value can make up the satisfaction that it gives me to be a Stormers Supporter.

But enough is enough. It is not nice to be on the losing end the whole time while I know for a fact that we have an excellent team with excellent players. If I am correct we are the first SA team to lose against the Rebels? Our players got dignity and work hard as a team – that I don’t dispute for one minute!!! I don’t know where the problem is but something is wrong and seriously wrong. Even I that is just a plain ordinary female with no status or a rugby expert knows something is wrong, but I have a dedicated rugby heart.

I will always stay a Stormer/WP supporter but just think that it is a waste of time and money to spend on the Union until all politics has been sorted out and we start to win again. As like all the other supporters we talk among each other and everyone has the same feeling! Eventually it will be like the Lions team – when last was the stadium full? Do we as supporters got no say in this matter? For 30 years I’ve kept quiet and never said anything bad about the team – but I can’t anymore 🙁 The team players is not the problem – what is??? Is it politics, corruption, money, lack of interest, luck or no luck at all? Please I also need to understand what is going on? Do Management want to lose their supporters or what? Are we not important and is our opinions not counting?

Surely DHL want to sponsor a winning team? Or are the only sponsoring the Union? If that is the case I will not support DHL either!

Please I am desperate for answers. Must I still support a rugby team and their Union that I know something seriously is wrong or must I rather spend my money and energy on something else. And believe me it is not only men that are passionate about their rugby – I think sometimes we females are worse! I will even were my rugby jersey in Afghanistan if need be 🙂

What now? Because I really don’t know anymore! All I know is that I’m heartbroken and not happy at all!!! Sorry if my spelling and tenses is not correct because I am a Afrikaans girl :)”


  1. I concur whole heartily with ‘Afrikaans Girl’. We, close family and friends, have already decided not to go watch any more games at DHL Newlands this season.
    Clean up shop WP, no man is bigger than the game….


  2. I suspect some very serious issues need to be addressed before we can see a turnaround in the rot – however, I do not think there is somebody in management of WP Rugby Union with the power and balls to do so. I think it is time that the management of WP Rugby Union is honest with their stakeholders, which includes the WP supporters. Questions that I would like to see answered are:
    – What was behind Rassie Erasmus’ departure?
    – Is there any truth behind rumours of drunken behaviour (chairs throwing) at a management meeting(s)?
    – Why was Rassie Erasmus’ position not filled after he left?
    – There seems to be a lack of planning regarding player recruitment, development and retention. Examples are Quin Roux, Demetri Katrakiles, Handre Pollard, etc. etc. Why are game breakers like Tim Swiel sidelined? Do we really want to let him go and develop his immense talent on flyhalf in England?
    – Why do they stick with a coaching team that seem to be totally clueless?

    The body language of the Stormers rugby players tells me that they are totally unhappy and are just going through the motions because they are being paid.

  3. I feel your pain. As a Sharks supporter it is tough, but stick
    with your team. There are cycles.
    Enjoy the winning and look forward to when those
    days return (as long as it is not against The Sharks)

    1. Interesting to see the difference in approaches Dave … Somethign I have spoken to you about before … Wrote a column on it today … Perhaps a fair amount to do with how the unions, players and coaches treat fans?

  4. Thanks to the Afrikaans Lady, I agree wholeheartedly, and I trust that there will be a formal reply from the Stormers to their fans through this forum? But please, oh pretty pretty please do not insult our intelligence with the rubbish you give to reporters on Supersport about “the coaches have given us the structures, we must execute”. How can a Springbok captain continue to decline a guaranteed 3 points in front of the posts game after game – going back to the 2 point loss against the Cheetahs!

  5. Dear Stormers Management,

    We as supporters no matter where we live have the right to say, enough is enough. Where is the heart? We have talent, but we have a one faceted game plan – defence. Yes defence does win games, but when the other team does present the unexpected we seem at a loss to counter. Creativity has always been a part of the game in Western Province/Cape, that is what we love, did we just forget this? We need to look at what characterizes our franchise and continue to form that as our foundation. Since the days of Blair and Whip we were known for flair and running rugby, now we play without confidence and belief. And I don’t believe it is politics, the conservative coaching style may be the at the root of our demise.

    Sad Stormer 🙁

  6. Arno, it was not WP fault that Catrakillis moved on. Players have also got to get their ducks in a row. Pollard certainly did not move to the Bulls because they offered him huge amounts of money – it was a very small amount. His father wanted him to go there and that’s where he went. Remember, he was not even in the initial 100 players picked for the SA U20 trials – he would not have even made the final squad if Goosen had not got injured – that’s when he came into the squad behind Jantjies. If Jantjies had had a half decent game v Ireland, Pollard would have remained on the bench for the whole tournament. In any case, by then he was already moving to the Bulls. Roux is probably coming back.

    1. Neil,
      You are probably right about Catrakiles. My point, however, is that anyone could see that we had a special player since his early matches for UCT. For a long period he has been overlooked by the WP selectors. It was only just before the Currie Cup final that WP woke up and tried to negotiate a contract. I do not know the reasons for keeping him in limbo till it was too late, maybe they were already in negotiations with Jantjies. I do not want to labour one case, but it is a fact that our scouting and recruitment programme is miles behind the Bulls.

      I want the WP management to learn from their blunders and avoid the same mistakes in future. We all long back to the glory years of the 80’s, which was based on an aggressive, dominating tight five and a creative flyhalf (Michael du Plessis). In Tim Swiel, we have the makings of a flyhalf in the same mold as Du Plessis and Stephen Larkham. I believe that Swiel could offer the Stormers/WP the dimension that we need to start scoring tries again – provided the coaching team does not corrupt him with their game plan. A flyhalf in his class should be allowed to make mistakes in order to unlock his brilliance. Remember some of the “stupid” mistakes made by Du Plessis and Larkham early in their careers. Difference is that they were allowed to play their game and “siedaar” – they became legends.

  7. Lionel, I know what occurred regarding Catrakillis. Jantjies and Taute were not bought for 2mill – they are on loan just as Bezuidenhout is, just as Van der Merwe at the Sharks is.

    1. Hi Neil, i’m confused as to why so many people think that Jantjies and Taute are on loan. Jantjies was paid 2mil to play for the stormers this season and is a free agent. He only needs to return to the Lions if they make it back into the super15. And Taute’s contract with the Lions expires at the end of this year.

      please educate people.

      1. Yep, 10 million was spent on the Lions players this year. Cilliers and Rhodes as permanent transfers, Taute and Jantjies on loan for the year, but still at a cost. Taute hinting that he is keen to stay, but Jantjies has to be back for the promo/relegation match at the end of the S15

  8. Bravo, Afrikaans Girl, this (also Afrikaans) girl agrees wholeheartedly. After the Currie Cup euphoria, Cape rugby fans suddenly find ourselves totally, inexplicably let down. We never expected this spectacular implosion of our proud Union.

    My gut feeling tells me something is wrong higher up than with the players and coaching staff. A fish rots from the head. Management should also take responsibility.

    Arno raises valid points. The mess needs to be brought into the open and cleaned up. So Dear Management, get your heads out of the sand/your own bank statements, see what young talent is available and then invest in them. Overhaul the whole structure if needs be, and do it quickly. The supporters have lost patience.

    Rob Wagner & Co, are you willing to get with the program? If not, please just go.

    1. I would also agree that a more open mgmt style would make a massive difference in the Western Cape … They tend to get all defensive every time someone asks a simple question ….

  9. Tank,

    Who made the call to make John Smit Chief Exec at the Sharks?

    Can’t we get rid of The- low Wakefield as President and replace him with Morne DuPlesis?

    1. Bold cll made by the Sharks board … WP a political cess pit that requires a majority of the 98 clubs to vote for a change … Hence many of the board worrying more about gaining votes than about the rugby on offer

      1. In other words, there is a lack of leadership which allows all 98 clubs to play their political games at the expense of the WP/Stormers brand and the emotions of the supporters. Unfortunately, things will probably not improve until strong (not popular) leadership is in place. In this political cesspool, are there any alternative to sponsors, advertisers and spectators using their financial clout to force change? If I remember correctly, the successes of the 80’s were under the leadership of Jan Pickard?

  10. Hi Dan, Just to say that I am involved in the world of pro rugby 18/7. As for WP – Tank summed it up – “a cess pool of politics” – so the full time management is not always to blame ( No I do not work for WP). Someone asked why did Rassie Erasmus leave – Tank gave you the answer.

  11. Damn shame that politics is doing a sterling job of ruining a fine rugby union.

    My question is: Is Allister Coetzee being held up as the next great coach of colour in SA? (it all seems a little like Snorbek really).

    Scenario goes: Team is doing well…. hand team over to a coach… team results are average… buy/ sell players… team goes on to do poorly… lose fans… coach moves up (Bok Coach) or into another high powered position within SARU… New coach is appointed to pick up pieces.

    I do not have a personal issue with Allister, in fact I know the man very well having played against one or two of his teams and then socially (we were once neighbours). I do however question the last time any side he was involved achieved anything? And I am not refering to an assistant position. I mean a head coach/manager role.

    He is but one example of possible problems facing WP. Bring back Rassie or better yet get Nick Bloody Mallet. But please get someone with vision and flair putting WP rugby back at the top or at least playing rugby that is good to watch.

  12. If I may throw in my ten cents here, let me just say, let’s focus on the positives.

    I’ve also been a WP supporter for yonks. My dad took me to see my 1st game when I was 2, I fell in love with rugby, I fell in love with WP and I’ve been in love ever since. WP, for me, symbolizes a rich culture in rugby. It’s the greats that’s worn the blue and white hoops; giants like Carel du Plessis, Rob Louw, Hennie Bekker and the forgotten heroes like Cala Scholz, Niel Burger, Freddie Ferreira, Neil Hugo and Keith Andrews. It’s those heart stopping moments like the forward pass from Helgard Muller in the 1997 Currie Cup final and the absolute thrill of victory when everyone has written us off like last years victory over the Sharkies. But, the lows, like the loss against the Rebels . . . the Afrikaans girl speaks for us all, but like I mentioned earlier, let’s focus on the positives:

    We do have, in my humble opinion, one of the best defensive coaches in the world and he’s signed on until 2015. Nienaber is a genius when it comes to defense.

    We have some very real talent coming through if you think about the ages of guys like Steven Kitshoff, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Siya Kolisi and younsters like Cheslin Kolbe and Tim Swiel.

    Matt is doing an admiral job with the forwards. Still a bit inconsistent, but the potential to dominate is there.

    In John Dobson, we have a real up and coming star in the coaching department and maybe we should give him a run at the Currie Cup?

    This being said, what is worrying, is the inability to secure young lads like Hondré Pollard and Demitri. After all, out flyhalf stocks aren’t that impressive and these 2 are out and out game winners. Demitri showed what he can do in last years Currie Cup final.

    Whatever the outcome though, I’ll stay true to the Visvoete, soldier in the Streeptrui Army.

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