Coetzee lauds his players

PUBLISHED: March 8, 2010

Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was elated after his team put in a clinical performance in annihilating the Highlanders 33-0 at Newlands on Saturday for their third Vodacom Super 14 victory in four games.

The Stormers now take on the Hurricanes, who lost to the Cheetahs the past Saturday, at Newlands this coming Saturday.

“I’m very happy with the win. It was a great response from the players after last week’s game (the defeat to the Brumbies). We asked for a complete performance in terms of improving on attack and we are happy to have the bonus point eventually.”

The Stormers had to juggle the team after hooker Tiaan Liebenberg was forced to withdraw due to a bout of the flu and wing Gio Aplon couldn’t fully shake off the effects of the same disease. Deon Fourie took over from Liebenberg, with Aplon and substitute Sireli Naqelevuki swapped places.

Coetzee was impressed with the way the team adapted at short notice. “We had a bit of adversity with Tiaan Liebenberg not being able to play, and players like Deon Fourie stepped up in the starting XV and a player like (Hanyani) Shimange who came into the 22 did a fantastic job.

“Even when I had to take off Schalla (Schalk Burger) in the 60min and put Pieter Louw on because Schalk hasn’t played for a while with a hammy… you have to back your backup players and Pieter Louw did a fine job out there.”

Coetzee said he he was happy with the performance. “If you put a team away by 33 points to nil, then I sleep well. The four tries came from two mauls. The one at the end was a mistake that was kicked through.

“Attack is a fluid thing, it’s not like a system and we’re trying to get the balance right. We went through phases tonight. The Highlanders were really on the racks, and at the last crucial moment we turned it over, and we have to look at that.

“The patience was there tonight, and the guys understand that defence could be the safety valve for bail-out if you make mistakes on attack. And I think with that mindset we’re improving every week.”

The coach emphasised the team should find the perfect balance between attack and defence. “It’s always about getting the balance right. The Lions showed us that if you go with an all-out attack approach, you’re entertaining but you’re going nowhere in the comp. I’m pleased with our progress on attack.”

Coetzee was also happy to report there were no serious injury concerns.