Cape Town – The Stormers blew the Western Force away for much of the first hour's play and that laid the foundation for their deserved 24-8 win in Saturday's Super Rugby clash at Newlands.
The game was one-sided while the Stormers' game plan worked to perfection and only when their energy-sapping efforts started taking effect midway through the second half was the Force able to test the Stormers' defence.
Eighthman Duane Vermeulen, the Stormers' match-day captain, opted for a goal kick from the Force's 22m line when a penalty kick to touch would have offered the prospect of a bonus-point try just ahead of the hour mark.
“We had done so much attacking up to that stage that I took a decision to go for poles so that we could have a break,” said Vermeulen.
“The players were also happy with that call.”
It was clear that the Stormers had done an excellent job in analysing the Force's playing pattern which to date was built on a sound tactical kicking game.
“We knew what to expect from the Force and we had a simple plan going into the game,” Vermeulen said.
“It worked well because every player executed their job.”
Force coach Michael Foley cut a dejected figure afterwards when he conceded that his side was thrown out of their stride by the Stormers' spirited start to the match.
“I think tonight we were off from the start, and then when the opportunities came our way, we weren't able to be accurate enough to take them,” said Foley.
“They were right up for it and that was pretty much the difference in the game.”
Foley was critical of his team's ability to shake off the effects of their early setbacks as the game wore on.
“I thought the issue tonight was we were slightly off in attitude and they weren't.
“The bad thing about it was that it cost us the game; the good thing about it is that it's something we can address. They came out firing and we couldn't absorb it and couldn't go back at them.”
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee felt his team had done enough to win comfortably after they held the whip hand for most of the way.
“I thought we did well for 65 minutes and the way we executed (our game plan),” said Coetzee.
“This is a team that is still learning (to attack more) and we're still looking to put a 90-minute performance together.”
The Stormers' basic plan was to starve the Aussie visitors of ball so that they could not get their game going when they transfer play to home's side half of the field.
“Whenever play was in our half we managed to exit well, something that we battled with in previous games,” said Coetzee.
“Our set-piece functioned well and our physicality and intensity was right up there.
Four match-points from the game has allowed the Stormers to move off the bottom of the log and just how much this side has really improved will be tested in next week's derby at Newlands against the Cheetahs, who shocked the high-riding Brumbies over the weekend. – Sapa