Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee expressed satisfaction after his team crushed the Western Force 54-12 at Newlands on Saturday in the opening match of the Neo Africa Tri-Series.
The Stormers gave debuts to Springboks Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie as well as former South African under-20 flyhalf Lionel Cronjé. They now on Friday night face the Sharks, who will be dueling with the Force at Newlands on Tuesday night.
The Force started Saturday’s game without stars such as David Pocock, Nathan Sharpe, Matt Dunning and James O’ Connor. That, however, didn’t disappoint Coetzee.
“I am not disappointed at all. We know what we wanted to achieve in this game and we got what we wanted.
“I don’t think we’ll make too many changes for the Sharks match. I’d like to keep my combos going although we also need to give the youngsters more game time here and there.”
Wing Gio Aplon, who was outstanding on Saturday, took a knock to the head and the equally impressive fullback Joe Pietersen finished the game with a thigh niggle, but Coetzee said they were not serious injuries.
The Stormers management will discuss the cutting of the squad and announce the final group squad of about 34 players on Monday.
Coetzee gave his team the pass mark in most departments, but the coach said he wants a more clinical breakdown performance after an inconsistent showing in that regard against the Force.
“I’m unhappy with our discipline at the breakdown. It is still at that stage of the season where referees are basically coaching players at the breakdown during the matches, and we got pinned quite a few times for not rolling away or holding on after the ref had called ruck.
“It is something we need to analyse and work on in the coming week. Next week (Friday) will be a typical South African derby against the Sharks with an intense competition at the breakdown.”
Coetzee was delighted with the kick-chase and all-round showing at the lineout. The Stormers coach however refuted suggestions that there are problems at the scrum despite his side conceding several penalties at this set-piece.
“I’m not too worried about the scrum. These are the pillars of the game we wanted to better this season (along with the kicking game and the breakdown). We’ve just got to make sure we don’t look for the short cut.”