Cape Town – Jake White has whipped the Brumbies into a formidable outfit line-up but after the Stormers ran out 35-22 bonus-point winners at Newlands on Saturday night he learnt that endeavour is no substitute for class.
The Stormers fielded a fair number of Springboks in their three-quarter line as well as their pack, and the Brumbies battled to contain them. Their enterprise which reached a high when an inside pass from flyhalf Elton Jantjies to wing Gio Aplon left the opposition's defence stranded.
“That is not the way we wanted to end the tour, but I cannot take much away from the Stormers tonight, they played some quality rugby,” said White.
“As good as we were last week in the first 40 minutes we were as poor this week in terms of finishing things that we started.”
The Brumbies' authoritative display against the Sharks last week had raised hopes in their camp that they could round off their two-match SA tour with a win, and that aspiration seemed realistic since the Stormers traditionally did not fire on all cylinders after a bye.
“The Stormers were desperate for a win. They had a bye last week and it didn't look like they had a bye, they were fresh and they were ready to go,” said White. “There were things we spoke about during the week that probably didn't happen the way I would have liked.
“As soon as we let them get a few points ahead it meant that we had to chase the game which is not easy at Newlands.”
At the outset, the Brumbies adopted typical South African tactics by constantly bashing into the opposition with their giant eighthman Fotu Auelua and flank George Smith leading the way. On occasion, Jantjies and Stormers flank Siya Kolisi were flattened but they both gathered their composure to play vital roles in their side's eventual victory.
However, Brumbies were not as composed when the Stormers returned the brutality with barn-storming runs, and their coach Allister Coetzee said afterwards it was key to the team's success.
“We saw the physicality out there tonight and it's something we spoke about all week (leading up to the match),” said Coetzee.
“We physically dominated on the gain line.
“Our set-piece functioned well and we had great impact from the bench later in the match.
“It was a great effort to score four tries against a quality side like the Brumbies, although we still made a lot of mistakes out there.” – Sapa