Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee proclaimed him happy with the way the Stormers performed on the overseas leg of their Super 14 campaign, but acknowledged a tough last few games lay ahead.
The Stormers take on the Crusaders at Newlands on Friday before going to Durban for a game against the in-form Sharks. Their last league game is at Newlands against the defending champions, the Bulls.
To make matters worse for Coetzee prop JC Kritzinger injured a calf in last Friday’s defeat to the Reds in Brisbane. “JC is a big blow. He had to leave the field early with a calf strain.”
Fullback Joe Pietersen, who missed the tour due to an injury, will be assessed this week.
The coach said he was happy with the overall result on tour. “I am happy with the way the team has performed and we have got to play the Crusaders and Bulls so it’s not like we have to rely on results that are out of our hands.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the loss (against the Reds), but I think the players know that they weren’t beaten because they were dominated. We were beaten because we made mistakes.
“We were the dominant team. We created so many opportunities, but one’s got to give credit to the Reds for holding onto the ball.”
Coetzee made a comparison between the Currie Cup and Super 14, emphasising the key difference: “They’re different competitions… in the Currie Cup you can defend and win, but at Super 14 level you can’t win games by just defending and that’s why we strive for that balance.”
The coach again was impressed by his charges’ defence. “The Reds scored only one try, so it was a great defensive performance. The defence stood out with Bryan and Brannes saving that try to stop the bonus point which is a big bonus.
“I think also on the attack there are some brilliant passages of play where we created opportunities.”
The coach said there was big disappointment in the camp. The team beat the two New Zealand teams, but came a cropper against Australian opposition.
“We know that if we played a bit better it would have been a different result. There’s no lack in attitude and effort, just handling errors cost us.
“We didn’t adapt to the humidity and the wet ball and that’s why it coughed up at crucial stages. These are things we’ll have to learn going forward, but I’m pleased with the 11 points from the tour.”
Looking at this week’s preparation Coetzee said recuperation is of vital importance.
“One has got to make sure that the players recover fully (this week), but the Crusaders are also travelling so there’s not a lot you can read into that. Training wise we’ll have three sessions.”