The way the Stormers disintegrated against the Highlanders in Dunedin in Super Rugby competition on Friday is a huge concern for the South African game.
The men from the Cape were comprehensively thumped 57-14 by the New Zealanders on Friday as they crashed to their third big loss in a row, following last week’s 57-24 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch and the 29-16 loss to the Lions in Cape Town the week before.
Perhaps their brilliant 34-26 win over the Chiefs at the start of the month was a bad thing. After that victory – their sixth in a row – everyone thought the Stormers were the South African side to beat.
Three weeks later, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
It was never going to be easy for the Stormers on tour. Playing three top New Zealand franchises in three consecutive weekends was always going to test Robbie Fleck’s men. But the manner in which they have succumbed is cause for alarm.
They still comfortably lead the Africa 1 conference, which probably is the biggest worry for South African rugby as the underperforming Bulls and Cheetahs are in their group.
It begs the question that if this is South Africa’s second best team at the moment – the Lions have proved they are the best right now– then it is not looking good for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
With the defending champion Hurricanes, who have only lost one of eight matches this season, lying in wait in Wellington next weekend, the Stormers won’t be sleeping easily this week. Nor will Coetzee.