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Storming second half display a delight for Fleck

Rugby
CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck was pleased with his team’s ability to make use of “various game plans” to beat the Sunwolves 44-31 on Saturday.

It took a second half fightback to prevent an upset in Singapore, and the Sunwolves dominated possession early on and their attacking game was superb - with their decoy runners, ball handling and attacking kicks causing all kinds of problems for the Stormers in the first half.

The Stormers also created trouble for themselves with their poor defence, especially in the first half, but they also created some magic in the first half, when EW Viljoen rounded off a beautiful team effort to score a special try.

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Stormers coach Robbie Fleck was pleased with Saturday's win over the Sunwolves. Photo: EPA/Joe Castro

That try, which started back in the Stormers’ 22 when fullback Dillyn Leyds made a beautiful break and followed it up with a thrilling run, epitomised the kind of rugby the Stormers want to play.

And there were also a few good moments in the second half, as in the build-up to scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and wing Bjorn Basson’s tries.

But after being 24-20 down at half-time, the visitors employed a more forward-based game, which started late in the first half when No 6 Rynhardt Elstadt scored the Stormers’ second try after they took the ball through 15 phases and a series of pick-and-go’s to get over the line.

And when tighthead Wilco Louw and hooker Bongi Mbonambi got over in the second half, it was with similar play.

In the lead-up to the match, Fleck said that they weren’t going to “disrespect” the Sunwolves and also mentioned that they were wary of some of the “clever tactics” the Japanese outfit used against them in their 17-17 draw last year.

Those tactics included them disrupting the Stormers’ maul, and this time around it included the Wolves not committing too many numbers at the breakdown.

And Fleck lauded his team for the way varied their game.

“The Sunwolves are a dangerous team and they have improved every week, so for us to travel here and win was important,” Fleck said. “It was a powerful performance in the second half for a good win in tough circumstances. It is a young group and everyone played their role.

“This performance shows we can play various game plans and for such a young group that is massively positive.

“It shows that this group is working hard and they have got that mental capacity to fight back and win a game under difficult circumstances,” he said.

Fleck also gave credit to the Sunwolves, and added that his team managed to keep their composure to gain control and run in six tries.

“We had a good chat at half-time, there was no panic, we just had to get back to what we had planned to do. We had to adapt a little bit because of the way that the Sunwolves were playing.

“Once we got going in that second half our plans started to come through quite nicely,” he explained.

There were a few injuries sustained in the clash, with Elstadt (ankle), Louw (sternum) and Seabelo Senatla (foot) all added to the casualty list. The extent of the damage will be determined when the players are assessed in Cape Town.

The Stormers next face the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday, and Fleck said he has a few tough selection decisions to make, with a number of guys performing well and others who are back in contention after being rested for the trip to Singapore.

The Star

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