Vodacom Stormers captain Jean de Villiers admits Saturday’s 34-16 victory over the Reds in Brisbane was a much-needed one and that the result brought a sigh of relief to the camp.
The Stormers lossed their first three games under new coach Rassie Erasmus and before the Reds game was entrenched at the bottom of the log.
Now the Cape franchise has jumped four places courtesy of the five points – they earned a bonus point for four tries – they claimed and is now in tenth place on the log.
“Yes, it was definitely a relief to win this one. We have lost three on the trot and this is our first win of the tournament,” said De Villiers.
“We really wanted to win and you could see it at the end there (when his side scored three unanswered tries to bury the Reds). To get the fourth try was fantastic.”
The Springbok midfielder said the win would be a big boost for the confidence of the players. “Confidence is a thing you get when you win and we have our first one behind our backs now.
“We can just build on this performance. We played our first game on tour now and have three left.”
He was full of praise for the contribution of hooker Schalk Brits, who dazzled with his silky smooth running skills and played a big role in the try of Luke Watson. Brits got his first start this season in place of Tiaan Liebenberg and he showed why he is rated such a dangerous attacking player.
“Yes, Schalk is an only child, so we sometimes wonder whether he’s going to pitch – even on the training field,” joked De Villiers. “No, he is a special player and he showed it against the Reds.”
The Stormers didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory in the set scrums, where the Reds used intelligent tactics to unsettle them. “Our scrum wasn’t good,” admitted the captain. “ The Reds did well to disrupt us there and we couldn’t always put phases together.”
Looking forward to next weekend’s game – against the Chiefs – De Villiers was under no illusions that it was going to be tough. The Chiefs fought back valiantly to beat a fired-up Cheetahs side on Saturday.
“This competition doesn’t get any easier and the Chiefs have a fantastic side. It will be a tough one, but we can take some confidence out of this game.”
The Stormers will be boosted by the return of flank Schalk Burger. The talisman set out the previous two games due to a suspension, but he no doubt would be chomping at the bit to see some action again.
Now coach Rassie Erasmus has the difficult task of deciding who of the outstanding trio of Luke Watson, Francois Louw and Robbie Diack has to make way for Burger.