CAPE TOWN – It is not often that a Stormers victory over the Bulls is not celebrated from the roof-tops. Even more so when it was sweet revenge for being slaughtered up at Loftus.
But that was exactly the muted mood in the home changeroom at Newlands on Saturday. Coach Robbie Fleck believes this is a positive omen ahead of trip to Argentina to face the Jaguares this week.
“The guys were a bit quiet after the game, and it was a sign that maybe they felt they left a lot out there. That is a good sign for us,” Fleck said.
The Stormers certainly showed they were improving in critical areas of their game against the Bulls. Throughout the season the Stormers have been good at set-piece time, and taken the ball through phases without gaining the reward it deserved.
But on Saturday, they finished off a couple of moves and also pounced on the Bulls’ mistakes and converted it into points. Captain Siya Kolisi certainly believed his team was on the right path.
“The toughest part is when you actually do play well and don’t execute, as was the case against the Brumbies,” said Kolisi. “It is tough to do analysis then and to decide what you need to get right. We felt we had done most things right in that game, we played well, we just didn’t win on the scoreboard.”
The skipper will unfortunately not to be in Buenos Aires to help continue growing his team’s momentum. He is being rested this week under the Springbok management programme along with prop Frans Malherbe.
It is a double blow for the Stormers with Pieter-Steph du Toit also being ruled out. Du Toit suffered a shoulder injury against the Bulls and was forced to leave the field. He is only expected to be back for the Crusaders clash on May 18.
Du Toit will be joined on the sidelines by rookie loose-forward Ernst van Rhyn. This setback will at least be softened with the return of Jaco Coetzee and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
Fleck will certainly need them to make an impact for the Jaguares are immense at home.
“It is a massive game for us. We will go away to the Jaguares knowing they are a different beast in Argentina. There is lot more energy there and the crowd gets behind them,” the Stormers coach said.
“They’re a pretty physical side, they an emotional side. Every team that has gone over there has struggled, apart from probably the Lions which was in the early part of the season.
“We will do our homework and see what worked at Newlands, but knowing they will grow and extra arm and extra leg playing at home. It will be a great challenge for our boys, but we have shown that we can win away, in terms of the Rebels, so it’s just another blade of grass only a couple 1000 kilometres away.”
Stormers squad to Argentina
Jaco Coetzee, Damian de Allende, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Johan du Toit, JJ Engelbrecht, Eben Etzebeth, Neethling Fouche, Corne Fourie, Herschel Jantjies, Steven Kitshoff, Dan Kriel, Michael Kumbirai, Dillyn Leyds, Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, Sergeal Petersen, Justin Phillips, JD Schickerling, Seabelo Senatla, Josh Stander, Kobus van Dyk, Cobus Wiese, Damian Willemse.