The Investec Stormers do not plan to throw in the towel now and want to fight until the bitter end.
That was the message from coach Gert Smal on Sunday after his side suffered another disappointing defeat in the Super 12 on Saturday at Newlands. This time they went down 37-24 to the Blues after squandering a lead of 24-0 after 20 minutes.
Captain De Wet Barry said after the game that the team yet again lost composure. “We made too many mistakes and there were too many kicks that was not purposeful. I felt sometimes we went into defensive mode.
” Smal said a lack of experience is costing the Stormers. “I think losing quality players like Corne (Krige), Selborne Boome and Hendrik Gerber, who was also a senior player is a negative. Especially Corne was very experienced at captaincy.
“Again, I don’t say that these guys are doing a bad job, but I think Corne had a lot of experience.”
Referring to the first 20 minutes, when the Stormers gave glimpses of what they are capable of, Smal said: “We showed what type of rugby we can play if we hold on to our possession.
“The tight phases were quite good, except for the last couple of minutes. But they were good in the first 20 minutes and we played them well, they were at sixes and sixes. But then just before halftime there was a turnover and they were back in the game.
“We spoke about playing for 80 minutes the whole week. Those are just things you have to go back, reassess and get us much as possible out of the team and get it together.”
On Sunday Smal said he would speak to national coach Jake White about resting some of the Stormers Springboks over the next few weeks.
“But it is important that we keep the morale of the side high over the next three weeks and I will definitely not throw in the towel,” he added.
“We have a responsibility to our supporters and the team itself to give our best and the end the season on a high note.”
No 8 Joe van Niekerk suffered an ankle injury, but his situation will be assessed at training on Monday.