Johannesburg – The Stormers took advantage of a depleted Lions side to notch up only their second Super Rugby win in eight matches at Newlands on Saturday evening.
The match was riddled with errors but the Lions were made to pay far more dearly, especially during a first-half passage of play when the Stormers were reduced to 14 men, after hooker Deon Fourie was sin-binned for shoulder charging an opposition player who was well off the ball.
The Stormers stuttered to an eventual 18-3 win after failing to add to their matchwinning first-half 18-point haul and the victory will come as a relief for the team's beleaguered coaching staff who have copped so much flak for the team under-performing week in and week out this season.
Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee admitted that much at the post-match media conference.
“I am very satisfied with this win and the players showed great attitude,” said Coetzee.
“The intensity was there, especially in the first 40 minutes and we went on to score two outstanding tries.
Coetzee tempered his delight by saying he was concerned by his players' lack of discipline on occasions.
“I'm not happy with the (our) discipline in general,” said the coach.
“There are things that are inexcusable, and I'm talking about the off-the-ball stuff.”
The Stormers were forced to reshuffle their backline after flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis was forced to retire from the match in the third minute.
“Demetri took a blow to the nose and it could be a fracture,” said Coetzee.
“Fortunately we had Peter Grant and (substitute) Jaco (Taute) really played well when he came on so it did not prove too disruptive. We could see Peter is not quite back to his best with place-kicking but he'll get there.”
Lions coach Johan Ackermann felt his team, stung by two pre-match withdrawals, made costly mistakes. On Saturday morning, captain Warren Whiteley failed a fitness test and lock Martin Muller was laid low by a stomach bug. Substitutes Willie Britz and Luvuyiso Lusaseni were moved into the run-on XV. Their places on the bench were taken by Warwick Tecklenburg and Rudi Matthee who flew in from Johannesburg about an hour or so before kick-off.
“This week we were forced into many changes because of injuries and then we had two more before the start of the match,” said Ackerman.
“Our character was really tested and when you saw how we played in the second half Ä you could see we did not roll over and die.
“It was a funny game. We played well in stages and we left many (scoring) opportunities out there.”
Ackermann said the injury crisis is something that the Lions will have to cope with, especially when they head off on the Australasia tour in a week's time.
“There is no quick-fix for the Lions,” said Ackermann.
“We'll just have to front up on tour even though it will be a 'first' (tour) for many of our players.” – Sapa