Cape Town – The Stormers have proven that when their set-piece functions reliably, they can be a remarkable strike force.
On Saturday, at Newlands, the Stormers never looked in danger of losing, and since the Cheetahs were hopelessly off form, a workmanlike win became a rout to the tune of a 33-0 Super Rugby whitewash.
The luxury of having first-choices available as players drop off the Stormers’ injury list, has made for consistency in team selection in recent times.
This has helped the Stormers grow in stature as a team with ever-improving attacking prowess, and on Saturday they bagged a second bonus point for four tries this season.
Allister Coetzee, the Stormers coach, said his team deserved credit for a comprehensive display.
“One has to give this team lot of credit for the way they performed,” Coetzee said at the post-match presser.
“Our line-out was excellent, we secured our ball and we struck a fine balance between attack and defence. Our trust in these players has paid off.”
Coetzee said he was impressed by the teamwork and his team’s ability to keep mistakes to a premium.
“We played as a team because we have now reached a stage where everyone understands the detail (of how we want to play),” said Coetzee.
“We did the simple things really well, and we’ve cut out the mistakes. Our first-phase play was accurate and we played well after securing turn-over ball.”
The Stormers’ game appears to be thriving in an atmosphere where they are not chasing a play-off position but Coetzee said his team was still under pressure.
“We are still under pressure because we don’t want to finish last on the log (at the end of the season),” said Coetzee.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske found it hard to stomach his team’s substandard performance and questioned their lack of attitude.
He was at a loss to explain how his team defeated the championship-chasing Brumbies last week and then crashed so spectacularly a few days later at Newlands.
“The Stormers put us under pressure from the start and then our discipline let us down badly,” said Drotske.
“I can't take anything away from the Stormers because they played superbly. We just didn’t show attitude.”
Drotske said his team was outplayed at the breakdowns and their gameplan was unable to function.
“The Stormers were superb at the breakdowns and we were not able to get a look in.
“There were times when we wanted to give the ball air but the conditions were not there for that.”
Schalk Burger who took over the Stormers captaincy after Jean de Villiers who woke up on Saturday morning with a badly swollen knee said his team played the conditions better on a day when stormy conditions prevailed throughout the game.
“We played the conditions better than they did and when you get a headstart in this type of weather, the momentum can stay with you,” Burger said.
“We made the right decisions and we took our opportunities well.”
Burger retired from play in the second half after a knock to his neck in the second minute.
“I was in a bit of a grapple for the ball and then Coenie (Oosthuizen) landed on me and I felt a bit of a spasm afterwards,” said Burger.
“I am picking up niggles but I’ll be okay and I will join the Springboks tomorrow (at the training camp in Durban). I’m quite excited about it.” – Sapa