Paul Feeney, assistant coach of the Stormers during a training session at Newlands Stadium. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Three losses in a row, a run of injuries, a captain at home with his feet up, and a visit to Melbourne to face the in-form Rebels on Friday.

Fair to say, the Stormers have their backs against the wall. But assistant coach Paul Feeney believes it’s just the bounce of the ball that needs to go the way of Robbie Fleck’s men to get the show on the road again.

“It would be nice to get the rub of the green when you score three tries, but you touch the whitewash twice and miss the other one by 50 millimetres. So, it would be nice to get the rub of the green. It’s not an excuse, but sometimes you need a bit of that,” Feeney said yesterday. 

“There are always big moments in matches, game changers. Sometimes a team just needs a little bit of luck somewhere and then confidence or momentum grows from that. We are looking to finish strongly. There is no reason we can’t beat the Rebels on Friday.”

Some feisty words from the New Zealander, but good teams, particularly the really good ones, create their own luck. They don’t handle the pill like it’s a bar of soap, nor do they panic at squeaky-bum time. The former Blues man admits the Stormers’ composure could be better.

Robbie Fleck and Paul Feeney in discussion ahead of a match at Newlands. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Robbie Fleck and Paul Feeney in discussion ahead of a match at Newlands. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

“We are frustrated that we didn’t get any points. All three games on tour we have been in the game until the last few minutes of the match. We had a few missed opportunities, and a bit of execution in our game needs to get better,” he explained. 

“I talk about execution and decision-making. We had a great counter-attack flowing movement, we got three off-loads away and then it’s just knowing when to hold on to it, when you in behind them and to stay patient and go another phase. Part of it is execution and part of it is decision-making and understanding where we are on the field.”

The Stormers are set to field a youthful combination in Melbourne, with the core of the leadership group, including captain Siya Kolisi, all back in South Africa already. With the majority of them being forwards too, it could have a major impact on the game plan the visitors employ in their last game on tour.

“With the latest crop that has gone home from this tour that makes seven players that have gone home. That’s a helluva lot. It is a lot of experience too, Siya, Eben (Etzebeth), Pieter-Steph (du Toit), guys of that calibre,” Feeney said.

“We have to play to our strengths. The flip side is that there are young guys getting opportunities. We haven’t got some of the big names up front, but the boys who are here and the other experienced guys need to step up. 

People always talk about having a good balance of experience and youth. Guys like Ernst van Rhyn and Kobus van Dyk have massive enthusiasm and work rate. They are good players and are just chomping at the bit to get out there.”


Cape Times

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