Vodacom Stormers assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot is of the opinion the bye the team had before the Vodacom Super 14 defeat against the Western Force affected them negatively.
The Stormers are playing against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday and want to get back to winning ways after a disappointing performance. The Force was winless before they shocked the Stormers.
Proudfoot said: “I think we were just a bit rusty. That week off broke our momentum a bit. In the competition we built great momentum and the challenge was to keep that.
“I thought we were a bit off and the Force kept us pinned back and we put ourselves under pressure by chasing the game. We tried to do a few things differently and they just didn’t come off.”
The former prop forward said there was a big sense of disappointment in the camp. “I don’t think it was one of those games where one payer made a mistake, it was more that the guys tried too hard to make things happen.
“One guy made a little error and then everybody tried too hard to fix it, and that’s typical of being a little bit ring rusty. That type of scenario tends to happen after a week off – you expect things to be the same as they were two weeks ago and they aren’t. But we’re all disappointed because we expect more of ourselves.”
Asked if the late arrival in Perth played a role in the defeat, Proudfoot said: “We had a plan going into it to make the tour as short as possible, and we’ll review this season in it’s entirety at the end of the season when we can be a bit more objective.”
He added that the team relied on worked for them previously, but things didn’t work out. “When you’re on tour you don’t want to change what you’ve done, but it’s all about execution. If that drop hadn’t of gone over everyone would have said we had a bad day at the office but at least we won and moved on.”
The opponents on Saturday handed the log-leading Bulls their first defeat of the season the past Saturday and Proudfoot expects the Blues to provide a tough challenge. “The Blues played fantastically on the weekend. We reviewed the game on Saturday and Sunday and had great meetings with the players and we’ve taken those discussions on board.
“They dominate the contact area, so the breakdown will be important. Their physicality is massive like all Islanders usually are, and I was impressed with the way they attacked the Bulls pack.
“I think it will be about really dominating our style of play on them. If we sit back and allow them to come at us it will be a long day at the office.”
The coach said the team is optimistic and determined to atone for the disappointment of last weekend.
“There’s a sturdy determined look about this side. They took it on the chin, and they know there’ll be criticism of the performance, but the group is determined to prove what our level is and what our standard is.
“There’s no need to panic. We don’t become a poor side in a week.”