The DHL Stormers were understandably disappointed following a narrow 19-16 defeat to rivals the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday evening.
In a tightly fought contest, the Vodacom Bulls scored the first try of the game through Francois Hougaard that put the visitors into a 19-9 lead with only eight minutes left. The home team, however responded with a try of their own through Andries Bekker in the 78th minute to keep hopes alive. With the final play of the game the DHL Stormers almost snatched the win thanks to a Jaque Fourie break that put Bryan Habana through, but a last ditched tackle foiled what would have been a remarkable comeback.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, however was honest in his assessment of the performance. He said: “We were not good enough tonight. The first 72 minutes was probably some of our worst rugby of the season. Our set piece didn’t work and we made too many individual mistakes, which the Bulls were able to capitalise on. We are disappointed, but credit to the Bulls. They know how to grind out a victory and they deserved the win.”
Despite the loss, the coach was able to find positive in what was a gutsy display in the last few minutes of the second half. “There is great character in this team. We held the ball well at the end and we went for the win. We didn’t get there in the end, but we earned a bonus point that could prove valuable at the end of the campaign.”
Up next for the team is a trip to Bloemfontein to face the Toyota Cheetahs. Captain Schalk Burger knows it won’t be easy, but is still optimistic going into the final week of the Super Rugby league phase.
“Next week is a local derby against a proud side who have been playing good rugby. We know what we have to do, we have won in Bloemfontein before and whilst we know it won’t be easy, we are capable of getting the result we need.”
“We would love to have won tonight, but we didn’t so we move on. Our destiny in this competition is in our own hands so now we must just ensure we are well prepared for another tough game on Saturday.”
Coetzee confirmed that Kurt Coleman is his only injury concern after the game. The 21-year-old will have his ankle injury assessed on Monday. Fellow flyhalf Peter Grant is however hopeful of a return to bolster the team’s option as they go into a crucial week in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
Stormers 16– Tries: Andries Bekker, Conversion: Dewaldt Duvenage; Penalties: Kurt Coleman, Dewaldt Duvenage
Bulls 19– Try: Francois Hougaard; Conversion: Morne Steyn; Penalties: Morne Steyn(4)