A lack of momentum, caused by basic errors, contributed to the DHL Stormers’ downfall against the Vodacom Bulls on Friday night.
So said DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee on Saturday morning – having had a bit of time to digest his team’s 17-25 defeat to the Bulls in their 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby opener in Pretoria.
The Stormers started slowly, trailing 0-9 at half-time, and they eventually went down by eight points – despite a strong second-half showing which saw them ‘win’ the second 40 minutes by 17 points to 16.
“It was a disappointing performance,” admitted Coetzee, “especially that first half.
“We showed some good signs in the second half, particularly in the build-up to Jean’s (de Villiers) try. That was our intention for the whole match but those basic errors cost us and it meant we conceded a lot of set-piece penalties and weren’t able to get out of our half.
“Yes, it was our first game of the season, and we were playing at altitude, but those mistakes in our game cost us.”
And those “basic errors”, explained Coetzee, meant that the DHL Stormers were not able to build up enough momentum for a sustained period in the match.
He added: “That’s why we looked so flat – we weren’t able to build enough momentum in 80 minutes.
“At times we weren’t able to win our line-out ball. Then, if we won our line-out ball, we’d lose possession with a knock-on straight afterwards. It kind of snow-balled on us and that meant there wasn’t that momentum we wanted – and needed – in our game.”
The one positive, however, was that when the Stormers managed to hold onto the ball, and take it through enough phases, they looked dangerous on attack – outscoring their opponents by two tries to one.
“Three clean line-out wins resulted in our 17 points on the night,” Coetzee pointed out.
“(But) we know where we stand and we know what we need to work on during the week. As a team, we’ll take the loss on our chin, and we’ll be working very hard next week to address our shortcomings.”
The other bit of good news for the DHL Stormers after Friday was the clean bill of health within the squad – in other words, no major injury worries ahead of their second Super Rugby clash of 2013.
New prop Pat Cilliers was forced to leave the field with a knock to the head towards the end of the Bulls game, but Coetzee said: “Pat showed no symptoms of a serious head knock this morning, so we’re relieved to have all our players fit and up for selection again.”
Flyhalf Peter Grant (free from his Japanese commitments) and centre Juan de Jongh (over his hamstring injury) will also come into the selection frame for next weekend’s Sharks clash in Durban.
“Both Peter and Juan will be available for us,” confirmed Coetzee.