Disappointed and well beaten, but definitely not down and out. That was the verdict from Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus after his side’s 22-0 defeat to the Crusaders at Newlands on Friday evening.
The Stormers are now without a win after three Super 14 matches and are bottom of the log. They departed for Australia early on Saturday morning and they take on the Reds this coming Saturday.
Erasmus said they still have a lot of hard work to be done, but he believes the competition can start now for his team, who had to face the top three finishers of last season first up.
“Disappointed and well beaten, without a doubt. We played well and we tried hard, but it was not good enough, so well done to them and harder work for us,” said the coach.
He however added that he still has a lot of hope for the Stormers. “ I am very concerned about three losses and only one try. The only thing you can take out of that is that we conceded only three tries, but that doesn’t win games.
“We have played one, two and three of last year now. That is no excuse and we need to adapt and work harder to score tries. I thought we attacked a little bit better, but we are far from getting it right.
“The next game is the Reds. It is nice to say that you have the tough teams are out of the way, but still now the hard work has to be done on the field. You can’t just expect to win games, especially if you don’t score tries and get points and we’ll have to get that right.”
Asked whether him and the team were feeling the pressure, Erasmus said pressure was part and parcel of the job and the competition.
“I was under pressure when I got here. It hasn’t exactly been a fairytale with the team playing semi-finals and finals the past two seasons. The team has been bottom of the log, so the pressure will be on until we get it right on the field. You have to get wins otherwise the pressure will be on.
“In a way it is a blessing to get away and as a team stay in the same hotel and go out and have supper together and really get to know one another. We haven’t really been together for a while and a tour is always good for that.
“We have a nice draw. We will be in Australia for two weeks, then two weeks in New Zealand and on our way back stop in Perth. So yes, I think the tournament can really start now, although we wanted to win right from the start. We didn’t wait for this (the tour).”
Trying to explain his team’s failure to score tries, Erasmus said: “The biggest thing without a doubt is if you defend for say 50 minutes the moment you get the ball you are so tired of defending that you actually cannot attack.
“I think you could see it against the Crusaders, because we tackled and tackled and tackled and when we got the ball the guys were out on their feet. So the thing is we should start to attack more and I think that will be the answer.”