The Henry penny drops


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Graham Henry: Not about mistakes

Ashfak Mohamed

THEY say the first step to solving any problem is to admit that there is one, and it seems as if the penny has finally dropped for Allister Coetzee in terms of the Stormers’ gameplan.

Coetzee said from Sydney yesterday that he had spoken to Blues consultant and World Cup winning All Black coach Graham Henry, and the rest of the Blues management, following the Stormers’ defeat in Albany two weeks ago. And the discussion turned to gameplans, and what the best approach was.

“I had a chat with Graham Henry after the Blues game, and he said it: It doesn’t bother him whether they make 40 mistakes in a game, as long as they had 70 opportunities and they complete 50 percent of those. It’s about the swings and roundabouts.

“We are normally worried about the amount of mistakes we make – that is the first thing that we sort of worry about, the turnover count. Then they actually turned ball over more than we do, but they are just worried about having more completions in attack. The big thing is that if you don’t try, if you sit back, hide in the system, and do nothing, then that’s a failure already. But if you keep trying, although there will be mistakes, there will be a completion or two, which is an improvement. That is what we want.”

“Everyone makes mistakes, and the error-rates of the opposition are actually higher than ours. But the completion rate is just better, and that is what we need to get right. When we have possession, we need to complete more of those opportunities,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee felt that the Stormers kicked too much ball away in the 21-15 defeat to the Waratahs, and he wants them to keep possession in Friday’s final tour game against the Rebels in Melbourne. And with that in mind, Elton Jantjies and Louis Schreuder may form a new starting halfback combination against the Rebels, and they are set to be given the licence to play their naturally attacking game.

Coetzee said yesterday that there is a “big possibility” of Jantjies and Schreuder coming in for Gary van Aswegen and Dewaldt Duvenage, who both struggled against the Waratahs.

Jantjies last started against the Cheetahs on April 6 in Bloemfontein, but hurt his knee in that match and only made his comeback against the Blues on May 3. He came off the bench in Albany, but wasn’t utilised by Coetzee against the Waratahs. Schreuder hasn’t been handed a start at all this year, only coming off the bench on a few occasions.

“This Rebels team have a massive attacking mindset – it’s almost like an all-or-nothing approach. While it poses a big threat to our defence, we also see the opportunity to turn the ball over, and that is one thing that we’ve worked on today – making sure that we utilise that possession and not just kick it away. Make sure that we have a go with that initially and see how it pans out,” the coach said.

“Our approach won’t be all or nothing. In a way, we are progressing and making little steps (forward) with certain things. We just want to improve on that. I think that we were too quick to kick possession away this week, from turnovers. That is what our defence creates for us, turnover possession. We had a couple of good results from those kicks, but with ball-in-hand, it would actually be better, and then we assess the situation before we kick it away.”

Hooker Deon Fourie’s rib injury is responding to treatment, and Coetzee said that he could be able to play against the Rebels. But it could be either at flank or off the bench, as the coach said that Scarra Ntubeni may be given a start at hooker.

“A guy like Scarra Ntubeni may start, Don Armand too, and they must use their opportunities. It’s similar to last year, where we have to back the guys,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sanzar announced yesterday that the judicial hearing to hear complaints of match-day misconduct against the Stormers and their team management will continue tomorrow.

The hearing, related to incidents during the Stormers clash against the Hurricanes on April 26 in Palmerston North, was adjourned on Thursday last week to allow the Stormers to seek independent legal advice. Sanzar and the Stormers do not want to comment on the matter at this time.


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