CAPE TOWN – While a bonus point would have been “ideal”, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is pleased that they achieved their main goal against the Sunwolves - getting the win.
The Stormers secured a 31-18 win at Newlands on Saturday. And while they never really looked likely to lose, the Sunwolves didn’t make it easy for the hosts to move closer to a Super Rugby playoff spot.
The result saw the Stormers move up to seventh spot on the combined log and move past the Sharks - who lost to the Jaguares - to fourth position in the South African conference.
The Stormers’ makeshift team must have lamented the bonus point they allowed to escape them, though.
The two tries by Sunwolves fullback Semisi Masirewa looked just too easy. And while the Stormers’ defence had clearly undergone some mending following their defeat to the Lions at Ellis Park, their defensive effort late in the game - in the build-up to one of those tries - let them down.
“We spoke about it during the week. First and foremost we needed to get the win. At least we’ve given ourselves that. We leaked those two tries at the end. But like I said, first things first, it was all about the win,” Fleck said after the game.
But a win wasn’t the only thing the Stormers got from the game. Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies went off before halftime, and Fleck later confirmed that he sustained an injury to his clavicle.
Jantjies’ injury is yet another blow for the injury-plagued Stormers, and while there was only one, possibly two casualties this week, it will feel way worse than that given how massive Jantjies has been this season.
“I don’t know the status of him yet, he’ll go for scans,” Fleck said. “It’s not looking good at the moment. Johan du Toit may also have a bit of an injury.”
“It is a collar bone injury (Jantjies), but I will wait to get feedback on it before commenting further. At this point we are not 100 percent sure how serious it is. It has been unfortunate over the past few weeks that we have had to deal with a lot of injuries, but every week we deal with it and we will just have to deal with whatever else comes across our desk tomorrow.”
Any more injuries will seriously test the Stormers if they come out on top in their straight shootout against the Sharks this Saturday. And while the situation is anything but ideal, Fleck said backing the team that will go up against the Sharks is crucial.
“We’ve got to back the guys that we select. We can do nothing about the injury situation. There’s no point in crying over spilt milk. Those guys aren’t returning, so this is the group that’s got to take us to the playoffs and help us win next week’s game,” Fleck said.
“The Sunwolves came with massive line speed. We let ourselves down in those last five minutes. We just need to instil confidence in the guys and let them believe that they can beat the Sharks next week.”
In some good news for the team, Fleck said they will be welcoming Seabelo Senatla and Scarra Ntubeni back this week as they return from injury, while Damian de Allende, who sat out the Sunwolves game as per the Springbok resting protocols, will also be available. JD Schickerling and Pieter-Steph du Toit could also be available, but Fleck was wary of creating too much hope and added that they shouldn’t rely on their returnees too much.
“We don’t want to hang our hopes on the guys who are coming back,” Fleck said.@WynonaLouw