DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was pleased with his team’s gutsy 19-11 Super Rugby win over the Southern Kings.
The Stormers battled hard for the win – their sixth of the season – against a determined Kings team and the coach was visibly relieved with the result against the Men from the Eastern Cape.
“We will definitely take the win and the four points,” said Coetzee at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.
“It was one of those banana-skin games – it could’ve gone either way. Credit to the players for pulling it off. We said the set-piece would be important and I thought we scrummed well tonight and our line-out work was pleasing in the conditions.
“Credit must go to the surface here at DHL Newlands. Last year we played on some wet pitches – like in Durban during the Currie Cup – and there were puddles on the pitch!
“We tried to be positive, despite the conditions, but the pitch played its part to.”
With the Super Rugby tournament going into a three-week recess – due to the June internationals – the Stormers will go into the enforced break in 11th place on the log.
They are on 38 points – behind the Sharks on points’ difference only – and trailing the Hurricanes (39 points, ninth place), the Waratahs (40, eighth), the Blues (43, seventh) and the Cheetahs (46, sixth) by just a few points.
“If we keep up our end of the deal (and win), then – I guess – anything can happen,” said Coetzee when asked about his team being able to sneak into the Super Rugby play-offs later this season. “We need to win our own (home games), that’s all we can keep doing and focus on; the rest is out of our control.
“There are small margins in the Super Rugby tournament this year. Look at the log – between positions 10 and seven/sixth… it’s really small and by the end of the competition it could be the smallest little happening or factor that’s kept you out of the play-offs.
“But we’ve accepted and know the position we’re in,” added Coetzee, “we’ve just got to make sure that we keep performing when we regroup after the break.”
The DHL Stormers will have the whole of next week off, before regathering on Monday, June 10 ahead of a friendly game against the Lions on Friday, June 14. (More information on that to follow at a later stage.)
Coetzee explained: “We will select a team for the friendly against the Lions based on recent game-time and looking ahead to the Currie Cup. Some players at the union need to play, those that have been on the bench in recent weeks and those (newer players) that could feature in the Currie Cup later in the year.
“In the third week the guys that wouldn’t have featured against the Lions (in the friendly) will return to the fray and we will start preparing for the Cheetahs game, here, on (Saturday) June 29.”
In terms of injured players due to return after the three-week break, Coetzee revealed: “We’ve got a number of players out with long-term injuries, but players we could expect back are Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes and Rynhardt Elstadt… and, of course, Juan de Jongh will rejoin us via the Springboks as he will be fit soon too.
“Those players (Cilliers, Rhodes and Elstadt) will hopefully be ready,” cautioned the Stormers boss. “They still need to come out of their medical braces and be assessed properly, but I am hopeful they will be ready. However, (flyhalf) Peter Grant will not be ready to play after this upcoming three-week break.”
The Springboks will play in an unprecedented double-header quadrangular series against Italy, Samoa and Scotland in June, with numerous Stormers players expected to feature for South Africa during the next few weeks – including De Jongh who will soon be over his finger injury which has kept him out for two weeks.