Sharks flank Jean-Luc du Preez is tackled by Stormers captain Siya Kolisi at Kings Park on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Stormers surrendered their advantage with soft moments at crucial times, and that led to their Super Rugby demise against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said after his side’s 24-17 defeat in Durban that his side failed to look after the lead after the Sharks exploited opportunities to change the course of the match.

“It was just crucial soft moments from certain individuals which let us down,” said Fleck. “I guess that’s been the case for us the whole season. 

“Again, we just have to regroup and look forward to next week’s game.”

Despite the Sharks’ glut of possession for most of the way, Fleck felt his side had chances to impose themselves on the match,

“It was a tight game and we did well in the first half, even though the Sharks had a lot of possession and territory. We defended really well and had an opportunity just before halftime with a good try for a 7-3 halftime lead,” he said.

“We had a lot of confidence going into that second half and then again, a soft moment from the kickoff led to a Sharks try.

“They were leading 10-7 at that stage and then when we managed to go ahead later, there were some more soft moments from us.

“It’s the error rate from key players that is hurting us at the moment.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck at the post-match press conference in Durban. Photo: Sameena Allie/African News Agency/ANA

“The Sharks were always going to be better than last week (against the Bulls), and we stayed in the fight for a really long time.

“In the second half, I would have liked us to take advantage of our opportunities, especially the opportunity to draw the game at the end. Credit to the Sharks defence, but from our side, we didn’t execute correctly, and that let us down at the end.”

Fleck said this latest setback meant the Stormers could no longer win the SA Conference. “Winning the conference is no longer a reality, so we have to try and get into that top eight.

“We’ve got seven games to do it, and five are at home. We will have to win every game if we wish to qualify for that top eight.”

The Stormers will have three home games on the trot, starting with the Rebels, followed by the Bulls and Chiefs in successive weeks.

African News Agency (ANA)