URC: Stormers v Edinburgh: No excuses from Everitt as hosts triumph in 10-try extravaganza

There was a debut score for winger Jake Henry

Bill Mata scored one of Edinburgh's three tries © Craig Watson

Stormers 43

Edinburgh 21

 

THE weather cooled by 10 degrees to a more manageable 20C but little else went Edinburgh’s way as they lost heavily to the Stormers in the first of this two-game mini-series in South Africa.

The 2022 United Rugby Championship winners and last year’s runners-up preside over a formidable home record and they again underlined why by running in seven tries to leapfrog their visitors in the table.

Suleiman Hartzenberg claimed a hat trick, Leolin Zas ran in two scores on the other wing with No. 8 Evan Roos claiming a late brace for himself in a contest that was more one-sided than the scoreline may suggest.


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Two of Edinburgh’s three ties came from acts of Stormers generosity, presenting a special moment on debut for Jake Henry and another for the rampaging Bill Mata. Paddy Harrison landed a more conventional try midway through the second half but by that point the hosts were well on their way to a comfortable victory.

Edinburgh have had a lot to contend with in the past few days and not just the scorching temperatures that greeted them upon their arrival in Cape Town earlier in the week.

With many of their Scotland stars watching from the sidelines on a rest week, they were also deprived of the services of Emiliano Boffelli, scratched from the line-up shortly before kick-off after suffering back spasms.

To his credit, Sean Everitt didn’t look to lean on too many of those factors as excuses as the head coach picked over the bones of a 10-try extravaganza, admitting that his players had only themselves to blame for many of their shortcomings.

“It’s always difficult to try and find a positive,” he said. “For me it was that we managed to stay in the game when we weren’t really able to fire a shot from a territory or possession point of view. We got into the opposition 22 [three times], we scored [three times] That is a positive for me.

“The work rate and the effort of the players was really good. The scramble defence, which people often don’t see, where the team worked hard to get back to put Stormers under pressure and make mistakes.

“Obviously, the negatives from me would be something we’ve been quite good at and that is set-piece defence. We conceded four set-piece tries today and that is disappointing because that’s bread and butter stuff. It’s normally after a few phases that fatigue sets in, but we made it too easy for them.

“We played against a team with Springboks in it. A team with X-Factor and a team with Manie Libbok on fire and served well by Damian Willemse at full back.

“Stormers have been winners and runners-up in the URC, and we’re not using that as an excuse for not performing better. But any team that plays the Stormers at the DHL Stadium has to be at the top of their game and we certainly weren’t that today.”

Edinburgh now head to Durban to prepare to take on Everitt’s former side, the Sharks. And the head coach was aware of the pressing need to take points after dropping to seventh in the URC table.

He added: “People talk about who we are coming to play against, the Stormers then the Sharks, my ex-franchise.

“But it’s actually not about that, it’s about this competition. We’ve got six games left and every result counts.

“A bonus point today would have been vital considering how tight the log is, so it’s for us to get to Durban and get as many points as we can out of that game.

“It’s about how quickly we regroup and plot the way forward for Durban where the conditions are going to be a lot different and really tough, a lot more difficult than here.

“That’s going to be really important for this group, because we have the ability to finish in the top four of the top eight.”

 

Teams –

Stormers: D Willemse, S Hartzenberg, W Simelane, D du Plessis, L Zas (B Loader 60), M Libbok (J Matthee 38-40, 70), P de Wet (H Jantjies 60); B Harris (L Gqoboka 51), A Venter (J Dweba 61), F Malherbe (N Fouche 40), S Moerat (C Evans 65) R van Heerden, N Xaba (H Dayimani 56), B Dixon, E Roos

Edinburgh: W Goosen; J Henry, M Bennett (J Lang 14 (C Scott 56)), M Currie, C Dean; B Healy, B Vellacott (C Shiel 69); B Venter (L de Bruin 60), D Cherry (P Harrison 60), WP Nel (J Sebastian 60), J Hodgson (M Sykes 61), S Skinner, B Muncaster (T Dodd 67), H Watson, V Mata

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)

 

Scorers –

Stormers: Tries: Hartzenberg 3, Zas 2, Roos 2; Cons: Libbok 3, Matthee; Pens: None

Edinburgh: Tries: Henry, Mata, Harrison; Cons: Healy 3; Pens: None

Scoring sequence (Stormers first): 5-0, 7-0 7-5, 7-7, 12-7, 14-7, 19-7, 19-12, 19-14, 24-14, 26-14, h-t, 31-14, 36-14, 36-19, 36-21, 41-21, 43-21

Yellow card: Edinburgh – de Bruin (79 mins)

 

 

 


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About Graeme Macpherson 36 Articles
Graeme Macpherson is a freelance sports writer who covers rugby for a number of outlets.

23 Comments

  1. Edinburgh needed to tighten up their game – attack at all costs lost us many more games than we won. However the pendulum has swung the other way and Edinburgh’s attack is woeful. We need a balance between attack at all costs and kick everything, which is made worse as the kicks are too long and the exacerbates the fact that our kick-chase is so desperately poor. Have we won more games yes, are we good to watch no, do we need more and better ideas in attack definitely. Don’t blame Healy, Velacott and Price endlessly deliver box kicks that are poorly chased. We are better but now we need a balance and a new attack strategy.

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    • Edinburgh had no territory and not much possession but still managed to score three tries. I would suggest that attack was not really the problem on Saturday, although I accept it is not easy viewing at times.

      Our backs were dreadful in defence and the pack didn’t provide much of a platform. I agree about our 9s – they have been pretty dire all season.

      Although these guys are professionals I think we have to accept that nobody is going to be at their best a few days after such an arduous journey. And even if we were at our best, Stormers at home are a pretty tough nut to crack.

      I imagine the coaches have been prioritising the Sharks game next weekend as the one where potential points could be picked up. If we come away from the SA swing with 1 win and 1 loss, then that is better than par and will set us up nicely for a run of fixtures much easier to manage.

      Incidentally, I’m interested in views about Edinburgh’s game management at the end where we expended a lot of energy in our 22 preventing another score but could have given up a simple try in an attempt to regain possession in the Stormers half so we could have had a crack at the try bonus point. (not exactly in the spirit of the game but if that’s where points are on offer?…)

      • Against the spirit of the game and I’m sure not something players (quite rightly) have in their DNA.
        This highlights an interesting point about bonus points.If Edinburgh had sneaked a try right at the end when they broke out it would really have been ridiculous for them to get a point out of it.We were thrashed frankly.Yet a team could put in a great performance,score three tries to zero but lose by 8 points to a side kicking lots of penalties and get nothing.The four try BP can sometimes have unintended consequences albeit I appreciate its there to reward attacking play and keep both sides interested sometimes.

  2. Hilarious to see people confused at Edinburgh struggling in attack….it’s no mystery folks….Healy is horribly out of his depth. He can kick a rugby ball a long way and that’s literally all he’s got. The Irish knew this a long time ago hence he was nowhere near the national set up and 3rd choice at best at his club. In the same way that deficient players are never cut from the development system, noone wants to admit their mistake and the SRU are doubling down on him which is killing the whole side. The idea that young Scottish players are not to be given game time is flawed (see the Glasgow 2nd rows!) but to block them from playing so average journeymen can be indulged is precisely why our sport is in crisis. The coaches have shown nothing so far either. Franco inherited a squad doing nothing at Glasgow and almost instantly transformed players like McDowell.Edinburgh coaches have so far achieved zilch. No obvious game plan except kick the ball away which is criminal given the talent they have in the squad.

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    • Why is Franco given credit for transforming Glasgow but Everitt not for Edinburgh? Until this weekend they had exactly the same win loss ratio this season, each winning one game against each other.
      Franco took over a Glasgow side who had been regulars playoffs. Yes there have been improvements but he started from a higher position
      Everitt took over a side much futher down with way more work to do and made them competitive in half a season,
      Edinburgh are in a much stronger position than when he took over.
      Picking out and blaming Healy is lazy, he is playing the game he has been asked to play.

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      • Centre appears to be where we are struggling, and let’s face it, so did Scotland. It seemed to me that Scotland struggled post Tuipluotu,FR didn’t look nearly so effective and yet I watched Bath at the weekend and he looked great, so he wasn’t the issue.

        Similarly with Healey, hard to criticise him when he’s behind a pack moving back and centres who can’t quite cope. Add in the travel and heat … Not sure there was any other likely outcome. Stormers are a class act, their backs are exceptional.

        I’m hoping that another week to acclimatise and we can put on a better performance.

      • Adam – look I’m an Edinburgh season ticket holder but Glasgow are a much more exciting watch and Franco encourages a high tempo exciting brand of rugby hence the credit. Glasgow are a full 10 points ahead of Edinburgh with a lot of 4 try bonus points. As I’ve said previously Edinburghs backs are lacking creativity but let’s hope it was a bad day at the office against a very good Stormers back line. Whilst RF has a grudge against Healy I do fear he maybe part of the problem. What we could do with a Libbok or a Willemse.

        The sharks game will be a test of our mettle and any win would be a great result. Weather looks damp in Durban so might suit our kicking game more.

      • Ross, I agree Glasgow are more exciting but Franco started from a much higher point. He took over a team who had lost the playoff semi, they quality was already there.
        Everitt doesn’t have that, so he’s been pragmatic and made them competitive. We have had years of Edinburgh players underperforming, hopefully some wins change that. Results trump style this season.
        No point having a world class back 3 (when available) if your centres are average, your 10s biggest strength is his kicking game and your 9 offers nothing but a running threat. I’m not sure what Healy pr coaches are supposed to do? Yeh he has limitations but his his play is a symptom not the cause.
        The squad is badly balanced with far too much money tied up in back 3 and aging or players.

  3. It was indeed a woeful Edinburgh performance and difficult to understand how they offer so little in attack. What is the attack coach doing and how can the team continue with the mindless kicking and giving the Stormers’ best players every opportunity to attack?

  4. Edinburgh were garbish and have been all season and the two replacement props looked uninterested, weak, lazy and poorly conditioned. You understand why the Irish did not fight to keep Healy as he is so deep and one dimensional and his kicking from hand in open play is turgid. I had never heard of the coach Everitt before he came and his team selections, substitutions, game plan are a joke and what is worse we gave him a 2 year extension!!!!!

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    • Until yesterday Edinburgh had exactly the same win loss ratio that Glasgow. They might not be playing great rugby but they have been winning game.
      They played lovely rugby under Blair but kept loosing and were slated.
      I’m not sure what Edinburgh fans wants or think they are entitled to.
      Everitt had made Edinburgh much more competitive this season

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      • I think we all accept that and has been recognised in many of the comments but the concern is around the back play or lack of it. We have a good set of forwards and should be a match for anyone when at full strength but the back play is lagging and I’m afraid with the players we have it’s hard to see where the creativity is going to come from. As I said earlier that was a thrashing yesterday and we don’t want to be on the wrong end of too many of these. We should expect some creativity and variety in the back play and it’s absent. That’s where the coaches earn their money.

      • Everitt has had half a season with squad he had no say in putting together, even less time with a full squad available.
        His first job was to stop the rot and hes done that with low risk rugby based on a kicking game.
        He has a poorly balanced squad with no quality in the centre and far too many established Scotland players in cruise control.

  5. Lang had a terrible game yesterday. He was found out in defence a number of times (to be fair he was out of position) and the kick leading to the Stormers 50-22 was a horrible decision. As another poster has said, Edinburgh played two 13s yesterday and then when Bennett who was playing 13 went off, they straight replaced him with Lang who is a 12 and he was a weak link there. Why didn’t they shift him in and put Currie at 13?

    Edinburgh are in real need of signing some good centres. And not steal them from Glasgow, as them being competitive for positions there is why the standards are much higher. I don’t know if he’s SQ but Sean Kerr who played for England U20s this 6N is the kind of player they could do with signing. A strong runner who has very good hands and a good boot too. He was one of the big reasons England U20s won the U20 6N. Alas Dingwall is now capped for England as he would have fit this mould perfectly.

    • Have to agree with this and post above.It was just painful to watch.Either Healy kicking big up and unders or Vellacott box-kicking-nearly always just resulted in giving the ball away.Willemse really is a fabulous player so why give him so much free ball! It was awful to watch.I initially liked Everitt as a coach.He seems a very likeable person (as Mike Blair is) but starting doubt him as a coach.As previous posters have said Edinburgh offer nothing in attack these days.The only game I saw the attack develop was about 20 mininutes in the Ulster game when the attack came alinve but since then nothing.
      And yes-Lang should have gone to 12 and Currie to 13. Also Scott could have started at 15 when Boffelliu pulled out remembering how well he palayed there against the dragons at the sart of the season.Goosen could then have remained on the wing -so no need for Dean who is a great trier but never a wing.
      Oh and on a positive note,well done Jacob Henry.Very good debut and real eye for the line with that try.

    • In 2021/22 Edinburgh listed an academy player as a centre/wing, as did his Super Series team. He played the u20’s and Super Series at 11/14 and in 2023 u20 6N was ranked 25th in meters gained out of all six teams. Only two Scots made the top 30 that year, the other lad lived in France! If you watched that 6N you will appreciate the Scottish wingers rarely got the ball. He even ripped through Christie’s Southern Knights midfield in a Super Series game in only his second senior game. Neither Murray/Christie in u20s or his Super Series team gave him time at 13 at all in two years.
      He was then released from the Academy when he wasn’t u20 anymore.
      This in a nutshell, is the Scottish player pathway.

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  6. All 3 posters are 100% correct. I’ll add my ramblings. I’m getting fed up with the Edinburgh tactics – Healy is obviously being instructed to kick, yesterday Edinburgh were simply handing the ball back to a very talented set of Stormer backs. Its gone from Mike Blairs Harlem Globetrotters to Everitts pragmatism. Both starting centres good players but both clearly 13s. They looked fine on the rare occasion they had the ball (Bennett off early doors) but ball invariably hoofed in the air.
    Plenty endeavour and heart shown, looks like team is poorly coached, this is also the product of poor recruitment. Healy is a top glass kicker but needs a 2nd ⅝ to supplement his skills, closest is Dean but hes been on the wing lately.
    Given Redpath has just signed a new contract Tom Jordan looks to make sense.
    Alas DeBruin needs to go, simply not good enough. Harrison needs more gametime.
    Looks like VDM Shoeman and Ashman back next week.
    Good on Jake Henry debut try did fine.
    Still question the release of Cammy Hutchison.

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    • Totally agree, Edinburgh needed some ball in hand time just to take the sting out of the Stormers but we just kept giving them the ball back and they were more than happy to run it back. Also agree on the number 12, Glasgow seem stacked with decent centres and our options are threadbare in comparison that along with our game plan is limiting our attacking threat. The start stop nature of the season followed by a trip to SA makes it really tough but if we want to wobble the sharks then we need to physically front up in attack and stop them on the gain line.

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    • @ John Martin and Don

      Glasgw are not stacked with centres. Thye have 4 if we count Jordan as a centre (has played mainly at 10) which is fair, a lad on a partnership contract and academy players. The 4 actual centres are all very good players (with 2 currenty injured) but competition for places drives standards, not oh well we can just take one from Glasgow.
      Same as happened with Price, and Pyrgos – Glasgow have lots of 9s, we donlt need to find one(and for that matter Bennett). Just maybe, for once, Edinburgh should look at root and branch to see why it is they cannot find and develop half backs and inside centres. Find their own, find an identity, it makes all the difference. We need both teams pulling their weight in terms of developing players. One isn’t and hasn’t for a very long time

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    • Glasgow and Edinburgh, while both owned by SRU, are two different teams. Tom Jordan will not move to Edinburgh as Edinburgh have the same number of centres as Glasgow.

  7. Kick kick kick kick kick. A tactic which is really boring to watch, and is only worth doing if you are actually good at winning the ball in the air, which Edinburgh aren’t!

    Whilst the ‘fluid’ style under Mike Blair needed reigned in, things seem to have gone too far the other way… there’s no attacking nous whatsoever on show.

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  8. I was in Cape Town for this and great to see WP get the run on for his 200th cap with his kids. I’m afraid that was the highlight and all downhill thereafter. The score flattered us and Stormers could have scored 60+ points and we were lucky to get 21.

    Stormers are a class side but I was surprised by the gulf in quality in the backs and that’s a big worry for me. They cut through us with ease too often and seemed to have so much time on the ball whereas we had none. Libbok and Willemse skipped around us at will and they did everything at pace with great fluency. Our backs looked so sluggish in comparison. I don’t remember the ball getting to our wingers through the hands once. Neither do I remember a single back move from us. What do the backs actually practice. We can’t beat teams just kicking the ball up in the air which looked like today’s plan.

    I know we’re winning more games than last year but if we want to compete with the top sides we need to develop our back play and whilst Healy brings a good kicking game he doesn’t spark the back line at all. I know we didn’t have our international back 3 but the problem lies in the inside backs. Not a single wrap around – all rather simple and predictable with zero threat. The forwards were quite a bit better but still not as dynamic as some of the Stormers pack but generally steady in the set piece until De Bruincame on.

    Another tough one next week with a revitalised Sharks waiting and will need our forwards to front up otherwise it will be more of the same. Sorry to be so negative but it’s quite dispiriting when you get so outclassed and you think you’re better.

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