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Renowned UK rugby scribe rips into Stormers 'excuse' making

By Ian Cameron
Stormers defenders getting skittled - PA

Sunday Times rugby union correspondent Stephen Jones has lambasted the excuses being made by South African fans after the Stormers were thrashed by Exeter Chiefs in the Heineken Champions Cup.


The loss for the Capetonians meant that South African involvement in Europe’s premier club competition had come to an end, while the Lions would follow suit in the Challenge Cup a few hours later on Saturday night.

Many fans have claimed that Stormers, who flew in from South Africa, were reportedly impacted by travel requirements that left them “flat” for the knock-out game.

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In his tweet, Jones ridiculed the excuses that have been made for the Stormers’ poor performance, specifically ones around the impact of disrupted flights.

The URC side had a 24-hour journey to face Irish giants Leinster two weeks previously, flew back to South Africa for a game and then had disrupted travel back to Europe this week. Many South African fans say that the travel requirements were too much to bare for the South African heavyweights.

Jones wasn’t having any of it, tweeting that: “So if it is not referees then the excuse is flights? If Stormers had flown in individual suites on a luxurious space shuttle and landed at Exeter airport they would still have been no match for the Chiefs.”

When challenged by South African journalist Brendan Nel, Jones pointed out that: “Exeter played in six day turnaround after [an] extra time win.”


Jones also retweeted a post from well-known rugby thinker and administrator Mark Evans, who pointed out that: “Given time zones, as opposed to hours, which SA teams used to have to deal with in Super Rugby the level of ‘concern’ on rugby twitter from certain quarters is strange. When we travel to Perth we have a 14-hour journey and 5 hour time change. It’s part of the competition – deal with it.”

Flights and distances aside, it is clear that South African teams certainly have a lot on their plate as they attempt to compete in the three major competitions in the URC, one of the two European cup competitions and the Currie Cup back in South Africa. How sustainable that is at the business end of the season is questionable.


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