“The Bulls are a very strong team at Loftus, and it was an away game for the Stormers. The hype around the result has been too much; it’s a first game,” said Lions coach Swys de Bruin. Photo: Karen Sandison/African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG – Lions boss Swys de Bruin says calls for Stormers boss Robbie Fleck to be sacked are premature.

The Stormers coach has been heavily criticised in some circles following his team’s Super Rugby first round defeat by the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria last Saturday.

Fleck’s men were clobbered 40-3 by a Bulls team including several Springboks, among them veteran stars Schalk Brits and Duane Vermeulen.

Fleck, who is in the final year of a four-year contract, made no excuses for the defeat, including his side arriving late at Loftus because of traffic congestion on the highway, saying his team had simply had an “off day”.

De Bruin, whose side will go up against the Stormers in a round two match at Newlands this Saturday, said on Thursday that some of the reaction to the defeat was over the top.

“It’s absolutely over the top,” said De Bruin, about the reaction to the defeat and calls for Fleck’s head.

“The Bulls are a massive team... they’ve got a Bok spine there if you consider Schalk at hooker, Lood de Jager at lock, Duane at eight, two Bok scrumhalves (Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier), there’s Handré Pollard at 10 and Warrick Gelant at 15.

“The Bulls are a very strong team at Loftus, and it was an away game for the Stormers. The hype around the result has been too much; it’s a first game,” said a perplexed Lions coach.

He added the multiple-title-winning Crusaders had regularly in the past struggled in the early rounds of the competition – just to go on and win the trophy at the end of the season.

“It’s early days in the competition, and it’s way too soon to be making an issue out of one result.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 3pm.

@jacq_west


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