Coetzee lauds his troops

PUBLISHED: May 3, 2010

The euphoria about the brilliant performance against the Crusaders on Friday night is something of the past and now the Vodacom Stormers focus has moved to the Sharks.

The Cape side trashed the seven-time Vodacom Super 14 champions 42-14 at Newlands on Friday night and now is sitting pretty in second position on the points’ table.

After the game coach Allister Coetzee said: “The Sharks are up next and that’s where the focus is shifted to, the next game. All I expect from the players is to pitch up like they did tonight.

“At this point of the competition it’s really not a matter of bonus points – it’s about keeping the winning momentum going and winning the next one.

“We have our destiny in our own hands, so if you look at getting the four points and preventing the Crusaders from getting a bonus point tonight, then I think it was mission accomplished for us.”

The coach said he was very proud of his players. “It’s one of the give-them-credit performances from the Stormers this season. I am very proud of the players the way they responded after the loss against the Reds last week.

“It’s wonderful to be back at Newlands but if you want to beat a side like the Crusaders it’s not about a crowd that’s going to do it for you. The players realised they had to pitch with physical intensity tonight, which is a given in the Stormers side, and with the right composure.

“That’s one area of this team where we’ve grown in the last couple of months – we were put under a lot of pressure in the first couple of minutes of the game, they scored from a charge down, but we held our nerve and played the game in the right areas. It was really a pleasing performance.”

The only sour note on the night was the rib injury that forced Springbok wing Bryan Habana off the field. “He has a bruised rib. The doctor will hopefully have better news after 48 hours.”

The coach was happy with the performance of the young centre Tim Whitehead, who replaced Habana at wing. “The policy of continuity gives players the opportunity to settle in and understand the structures.

“So at this stage of the competition we’re able to make use of the same group of 26 players who have been there since the beginning of the year and a quality player like Tim, it’s not a matter of the number on his back. He understands the game well and he did very well when he came on.”