fast little loans
Cape Town – Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says he is encouraged by his team’s performance against the Chiefs, but admits that there is “a hell of a lot of work to do” before they take on the Brumbies.
The Stormers showed that they do have the ability to use the ball and take on the opposition instead of waiting for mistakes to happen and winning penalties in what was a rousing performance at Newlands.
The Stormers were perhaps fortunate to escape with the victory from a last-minute scramble by the Chiefs, but there’s no denying that the Cape side played with much greater precision and purpose than was the case in the opening two weeks of Super Rugby.
They had a sense of urgency and intensity that was not evident against the Bulls and Sharks, and holding on for the 36-34 win was something they deserved for the way they performed.
The lineouts were functioning smoothly, the scrum was solid, the handling errors were largely missing and the aimless tactical kicking was packed away in favour of retaining possession mainly through a powerful maul, pick-and-gos and strong running by the backs. Locks De Kock Steenkamp and Andries Bekker, centre Damian de Allende and wing Gio Aplon were the standout players.
“I’m pleased, because the fact that we created so many opportunities yet again. Bryan was just short of the tryline and did well to release the ball, but we got the penalty against us. Siya in the right-hand corner, and Deon knocking on, those were all attacking, try-scoring opportunities that we left out there,” Coetzee said.
“So, it’s by no means a complete performance. We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do. The break (the Stormers have a bye this week) comes at the right time because we can reflect and look at things before the Brumbies game.
“”I’m pleased with the performance, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
“But it’s encouraging things – the set-piece tremendous, the lineouts were very good. We scrummed well and we cut down on our mistakes.
“I think we did some excellent things on attack. We really, in my opinion, were physically overpowering them in the collision when we had ball-in-hand, we made yards. Nic Groom’s try was testimony to our momentum that we had built. But we’ve got to be more consistent in building that continuity.”
But for a team who have had the best defence in Super Rugby for the last three years, the manner in which the Chiefs were so easily able to score four tries will be a major issue for the Stormers in the next two weeks ahead of the visit by Jake White’s Brumbies to Newlands on Saturday, March 23.
Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden used little grubber and chip kicks to good effect to get behind the Stormers’ front-line of defence, while the men from Hamilton ran superb angled lines and managed to create space out wide as well, particularly with replacement centre Andrew Horrell’s try in the right-hand corner.
The defending champions’ coach, Dave Rennie, felt that his team should also have been awarded a penalty by referee Jaco Peyper in the final seconds when Stormers replacement wing Gerhard van den Heever appeared to come in from the side to steal the ball. A few other marginal calls from Peyper also favoured the home team.
“One thing is that you can’t cover everything – you can’t cover the width of the field, watch the blindside and cover the kick at the back. So, (fullback Joe Pietersen, who was caught out of position at times) has got to favour a side as a fullback,” Coetzee said.
“Sometimes you will get it wrong. It’s not something that’s a problem, but we are aware of it.”
Captain Jean de Villiers applauded his team’s effort, but said that the Stormers will need to work out a plan to combat those grubber kicks. “That’s where guys will start targeting us because we have a good defensive system. The Brumbies and Reds did the same to us a couple of years ago,” he said.
“One thing that I’ve learnt from rugby is that it’s a decision you need to make. You can get away with less talent, but if you put your body on the line and make a commitment, you can do it.
“We took a hard look at ourselves, and I’m very pleased with the response. Sometimes you need a result like this to go your way.”
The Stormers will have to do without star wing Bryan Habana for at least the next seven weeks due to a medial knee ligament injury he sustained in the second half on Saturday. Coetzee said he was pleased with Van den Heever’s contribution, but with Springbok Jaco Taute set to return from injury, one solution could be Pietersen moving to wing for Habana, with Taute coming in at fullback.
Highlanders 19 Cheetahs 36, Brumbies 35 Waratahs 6, Stormers 36 Chiefs 34, Southern Kings 12 Sharks 21, Hurricanes 29 Crusaders 28, Rebels 13 Reds 23, Blues 21 Bulls 28. Bye: Force.
P W D L F A B P
Brumbies 3 3 0 0 89 25 2 18
Bulls 3 3 0 0 89 64 1 13
Sharks 3 3 0 0 62 40 0 12
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 120 66 4 12
Reds 4 3 0 1 72 66 0 12
Blues 3 2 0 1 89 63 3 11
Kings 2 1 0 1 34 31 0 8
W’tahs 3 1 0 2 54 86 0 8
Crusaders 2 0 0 2 43 63 2 6
Stormers 3 1 0 2 59 71 1 5
H’canes 3 1 0 2 61 80 1 5
Rebels 4 1 0 3 82 107 1 5
Cheetahs 3 1 0 2 61 93 1 5
Force 3 0 0 3 59 88 1 5
H’landers 2 0 0 2 46 77 0 4
Friday: Highlanders v Hurricanes (Dunedin, 8.35am), Waratahs v Cheetahs (Sydney, 10.40am), Southern Kings v Chiefs (Port Elizabeth, 7.10pm).
Saturday: Crusaders v Bulls (Christchurch, 8.35am), Brisbane: Reds v Western Force (Brisbane, 10.40am), Sharks v Brumbies (Durban, 5.05pm).
Byes: Stormers, Blues, Rebels. - Cape Times