Coach Allister Coetzee and captain Jean de Villiers were pleased with their side’s 35-22 Super Rugby win over the Brumbies on Saturday but both believe that the DHL Stormers can still get better in weeks to come.
The hosts scored four tries to one, as they became the first team to beat the Brumbies in Super Rugby action this season, but they were made to work hard for their bonus-point victory – especially in the second half.
“We’re very happy with the win, especially after our bye week – it was a fantastic effort. I think to get the bonus point try too… it showed great character by the team and it showed what we stand for – that physicality we spoke about all week,” said Coetzee, whose team led 22-10 at half-time.
“Our set-piece was good, and continues to improve, but it was by no means a complete performance. Yes, credit to us for scoring those four tries against a quality defence, a rush defence that puts you under pressure, but we can still improve in many aspects of our game and we will continue to strive for perfection.”
Captain Jean de Villiers agreed with his coach, admitting: “It’s nice to score four tries, but we’ve still got a lot to work on.
“We used our opportunities tonight but I thought we made (some) crucial mistakes at crucial times, that could’ve let them back into the game, so there’s still a lot of hard work ahead for us and, next week, there’s a pretty good team coming to DHL Newlands!”
Of course, whilst the coach would like to see his team improving every week, there were some aspects which pleased him on the night against the Brumbies.
The DHL Stormers boss said: “In the first half we were very accurate and our execution was spot-on. In the second half, they came out firing and put us under pressure and we couldn’t get our continuity going. There’s a few areas I’d like to look at this week, like the breakdown, but credit to a player like George Smith who gave us a few headaches (there).
“It doesn’t get easier in this competition. You need to plan well every week and you need all your players to be on the same page too – like we were tonight,” added Coetzee.
“The biggest thing for me, aside from the tactical and technical aspects, was how imposing we were on the gainline tonight. We physically dominated there, on defence and on attack – the players pitched there tonight, which you have to do against a top side like the Brumbies. That’s what the Stormers stand for and I was very proud of that aspect of play tonight.”
The one worrying aspect from the match was Gio Aplon being forced to leave the field in the 49th minute – the elusive speedster having come off second best in a clash with bruising Brumbies No.8 Fotu Auelua.
However, according to his coach, Aplon was recovering well afterwards. “Gio is okay,” said the Stormers coach, “he’ll have to do a CogSport test (for concussion) this week, so hopefully he’ll be available for us next weekend (against the Crusaders).”
Aplon was replaced by fellow Springbok Jaco Taute (back from his groin injury), with the Stormers brainstrust also ringing the changes in the second half in a bid to land that killer blow against their highly-rated opponents.
“The bench made an impact,” said Coetzee. “The plan was (always) to get players like Deon Fourie, Nizaam Carr, Nic Groom and Jaco Taute onto the field to bring some additional energy and I think they did that.
“I guess one would like to see fewer mistakes and that they apply the killer blow – along with that energy and intensity they brought with them – but they all certainly made an impact when they came on.”
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