DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says his team is ‘down but not out’, after the Men from the Cape lost 24-26 to the Cheetahs under dramatic circumstances in Bloemfontein this weekend.
Coetzee’s charges were beaten in the fourth minute of injury-time; their first Super Rugby loss to the Cheetahs since 2007, but the Stormers are not about to give up – despite also losing at home to the Crusaders last Saturday.
“We’re down but we’re definitely not out,” said Coetzee on Sunday. “We will never give up – not this team!”
Coetzee, however, admitted that the Stormers were to blame for the defeat and he added: “We were our own worst enemies. We were in a position to win (the match), but we let ourselves down and lost again due to unforced errors at critical stages in the match.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the Cheetahs, but both their tries came from errors by us – one of which saw us lose the ball on their line, with us on attack, and the other came from a charge-down. I guess you also need a bit of luck in top-level sport… the ball doesn’t seem to be bouncing our way at the moment.”
The Stormers line-out functioned superbly against the Cheetahs, with Super Rugby centurion Andries Bekker and lock partner De Kock Steenkamp leading the way, but Coetzee admitted: “Our line-out was good… but not our scrums.
“It was obviously great to see how our line-out improved from the previous week (against the Crusaders), but we need to ensure that all facets of our game function properly – at once.
“(But) we will keep working hard, as we have all season, and when it comes together we will take it to a new level,” added a determined Stormers boss.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Stormers will have to make do without powerful fullback Jaco Taute who suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury in the 30th minute on Saturday.
“We are waiting on official confirmation from the doctor,” said Coetzee of Taute’s freakish injury, “but Jaco could be out for the rest of the season with a damaged ACL.”
On other injuries, Coetzee added: “Siya Kolisi suffered a slight ankle strain, but he will train tomorrow and we will have to see about Elton Jantjies who twisted his knee a bit. Elton was in a bit of pain after the match, but we will know more tomorrow.”
Forwards Don Armand (intercostal rib muscle injury) and Rynhardt Elstadt (shoulder) will also be assessed on Monday, after missing the Cheetahs match, but winger Gerhard van den Heever (knee) will not be back this coming week.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni (shoulder) will take a full part in training this week, but won’t be considered for selection as yet and neither will lock Eben Etzebeth (ankle) and wing Bryan Habana (knee), who are still undergoing treatment on their respective injuries.
The Stormers will host the Sharks in Super Rugby action at DHL Newlands on Saturday, April 13 (kick-off 17h05). Tickets can be purchased HERE!