Losing against the Brumbies on Friday night was a disappointment, but the Vodacom Stormers have to learn the hard way if they want to make an impact in the Vodacom Super 14 series.
That was the view of coach Allister Coetzee at the media conference after the game. The Stormers play against the Highlanders at Newlands on Saturday and they will be looking to atone for the loss – their first in three games.
“It’s disappointing obviously to have lost tonight,” said the coach. “As a team you have to learn the hard way and take one step back to take a couple of steps forward again. We let ourselves down badly tonight. We didn’t play well at all.
“Tactically the Brumbies played a very good game. It was difficult to get into their 22 tonight with their long kicks downfield. I think we went off the program a bit with our kicking game.
“We were a bit erratic with ball in hand too, the execution of our kicks wasn’t that good tonight. All credit to the Brumbies. They played a bit of test rugby tonight to pin us back and be conservative in their approach and it worked.
“In the end we made two mistakes in our half, which is out of our kicking system, and it cost us 10 points – a penalty first and the intercept the other time – the only time we didn’t kick in our own half.”
The coach said that wasn’t a planned diversion at all. The players just felt the pressure that was put on them. “We didn’t stick to our systems tonight as well as we did last week.”
Coetzee was not happy with the execution. “It really wasn’t good at all. We get to the Brumbies half and then we cough up the ball and turn it over. It’s difficult to then defend your own ball, and it’s also difficult to get a penalty because you have to have the ball in hand to either get a penalty or take it through phases and score points.
“The bounce of the ball was also not good. The one time when we kicked down the left hand side and the ball bounced over Bryan’s (Habana) head – we didn’t score points when we needed to score like last week. It’s about not getting points at time when we put pressure on them.”
Coetzee didn’t rue the points the Stormers have possibly lost by preferring to maul instead op going for posts. “We always knew that we’re a good driving side. We rate our mauling.
“It wasn’t a bread and butter kick. We felt good early in the game and we knew mauls are one of our strengths and it’s one of their weaknesses to stop mauls. I was the captain’s call and I don’t have a problem with that.”
Flank Pieter Louw scored what looked like perfectly legitimate try early in the first half, but referee Craig Joubert didn’t award it – to the great dismay of the Newlands faithful.
Coetzee said: “I’ll always say it was a try! I’ve got to look at the video because it was touch and go.”
Good news for Stormers supporters is that there were no injuries to report.