The DHL Stormers will be hard at work this week, a short one at that, as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing opening-day defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg.
The 2011 and 2012 Vodacom Super Rugby SA Conference winners went down 10-34 to the Lions at Ellis Park, having trailed by 0-19 twenty minutes into the game and 10-22 at half-time.
“We, as a group, are very unhappy with our performance,” said DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee on Sunday.
“We’re the first to admit that we were outplayed… but credit must go to the Lions for their performance. They had us under pressure from the start and we weren’t able to get into our stride at all.
“It was one of those horror starts, a defensive blunder from us leading to their try, then Boshoff landing two drop-goals and (then) two penalties. It wasn’t an ideal start to our season – a rude awakening for us, but we know that we have a lot of hard work to do this week in order to bounce back.”
When asked how the Stormers could make things right, Coetzee commented: “We conceded 25 turnovers – 10 of those coming on attack. In other words, we had ten potential opportunities to put points on the board, but managed to lose the ball instead of making it count on the scoreboard.
“Defensively, the Lions were also very, very good,” he added, “and they had us under pressure at the breakdown where we were (uncharacteristically) very poor.”
Coetzee was happy with his team’s set-piece performance, pointing to just one line-out loss in 80 minutes and some powerful scrummaging from the Stormers, but there will still be plenty to work on at training on Monday and Tuesday.
“It’s a short week… just a six-day week to turn things around before we take on the Hurricanes at DHL Newlands on Friday night (kick-off 19h10).
“It won’t be easy – it’s never easy against a good Hurricanes team, but the main positive from Saturday is that we have plenty of scope to improve and we won’t have time to stew over our poor performance given the short (six-day) turnaround required.”
Veteran flank Schalk Burger left the field in the first half with a groin injury, whilst new lock Manuel Carizza (rib) and flank Siya Kolisi (shoulder) also left the fray in the second half with injuries.
“We will know more tomorrow (Monday) once the injured guys have been evaluated properly,” said Coetzee. “At this stage, one would have to say that Manuel’s injury is the most serious of the three.”