After some clinical and dominant play by the DHL Stormers – particularly in the first 60 minutes – it was unsurprising that coach Allister Coetzee was full of praise for his team following their 27-17 victory over the Blues on Friday evening.
The Cape-side were in full control of the clash for the first hour at DHL Newlands, going into a 24-3 lead. The visitors did produce a comeback to narrow the gap to 7 points, but the DHL Stormer did enough to remain unbeaten in this year’s competition.
Coetzee was pleased with how the whole squad contributed to the victory. He said: “I am obviously very pleased with the result. We prepared well and that showed on the field. The guys were accurate at the set piece and that set the platform for the backline. We complimented each other and made very few mistakes. It was a good combined effort from the 22 players.
“We saw the result of when we do make mistakes when we let the Blues back into the game in the second half. They got within 7, but credit to our substitutions who managed to keep the momentum going to hold out for the win.
“The key for us was our execution. We gave them nothing, no turnovers, no penalties in our own half. When we became a bit inaccurate we let them back into the game. One thing we must never lose is the physicality. The way we get that ball is to work so hard on defence. When we knock them back it makes them kick more and that is what we want to do.”
One element of the game that was hugely impressive was the young forward pack who completely dominated the Blues scrum in the final quarter of the match. Coetzee praised the forwards and forward coach Mathew Proudfoot, but also wanted to have a bit of perspective on the display. “I don’t want us to get too excited about our scrum, we are still going to come up against massive packs. What I can say, the accuracy of our forwards is really working well. Matt is doing a fantastic job. We battled with the engagement sequences in preseason and whilst we are getting it right now, there is still room for improvement.
“As a group we are very happy with the result, but we understand that it is March and the tournament ends in August. There is a long way to go and we still can improve in all facets.”
Captain Jean de Villiers echoed his coach’s sentiment but also feels that the victory needs perspective. “We happy with the team performance and the youngsters are showing the quality players that they are. It was a great team effort and if we can build on that it would be fantastic.
It was a great win, but we must be realistic. The Blues are missing a lot of players so we have to put in perspective and be aware of where we are really. We are a work in progress and we will still have a lot of room to improve.”
Next up for the DHL Stormers is a trip to Johannesburg to take on the Lions. The game kicks off on Saturday at 19:10.