Stormers coach Allister Coetzee had plenty to be pleased about after his side’s 19-14 victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in the last Super Rugby match before the June recess.
Coetzee’s side cemented their place at the top of the SA conference and will go into the break in a commanding position.
While Capetonians are enraged that only three players from the Stormers side were selected for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s squad of 32 for the upcoming Test series against England, this played into Coetzee’s hands.
The majority of his team will now be able to recuperate over the next three weeks, while many Bulls and Sharks players will be involved in the bruising Test series.
“We haven’t achieved yet as a team but we are in a good position,” Coetzee said.
“With the three-week break and having most of our team it will help for better planning come the next couple of games.”
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers was visibly relieved after the brutal affair and said they were well aware that the match could have swung either way.
“Games like today can go either way,” De Villiers said.
“If the ball stuck to JJ Engelbrecht in the first half for a try it could have been different, and if they kicked for poles it would have different, so it is those small margins that make the difference.
“I suppose we are just lucky to take the win tonight.”
Coetzee lauded his team for the character they showed to get the result against a quality Bulls side at their Loftus fortress.
“I think it is a great result for us,” he said.
“It is always a big challenge to beat the Bulls at Loftus. It's one thing you can never underestimate, so it is a special effort by the team.”
He believed their greatest achievement this year was that his charges now knew how to win irrespective of scoring tries and clinching bonus points.
“That is what we want to do and what we do well,” he said.
“We’ve done that. We defended well and at times we kicked well.
“When we had the opportunity we took it and I think that is important in any competiion, so I am really pleased.”
While the Bulls were disappointed, coach Fans Ludeke believed they were still in the running to win the competition.
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played,” Ludeke said.
“We’ve got three vital games left and we are going to work hard to make sure we still have the opportunity to win the competition.” – Sapa