DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee was beaming with pride after his team’s impressive 28-3 Super Rugby win over the Cheetahs in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Stormers outscored the Cheetahs by three tries to nil as they avenged their last-gasp defeat against the Men from Bloemfontein from earlier in the 2013 competition.
“It was a good win for us tonight. I’m really proud of my captain tonight, Deon Fourie, and also the entire team,” Coetzee said afterwards. (See a photo gallery HERE.)
“I think one needs to put this win into context even more… Remember how many injuries we have (over 12 at present), plus we also had the late disruption with (hooker) Tiaan Liebenberg pulling out (with an injury).
“But our policy has always been to work with what we have and to focus on those players coming in… and for those players to know the gameplan and the details. I think our basics were outstanding tonight. It’s not easy to beat this quality Cheetahs team – a top attacking side in this competition – and to keep them tryless. All credit must go to the team.”
The Stormers boss added: “It was a great effort across the board and the players, all of whom worked hard, showed a great attitude out there.
“I thought we held onto the ball well, that after a forgettable opening 20 minutes when we turned the ball over 11 times… (But) then we settled well and respected the ball and it shows, you know. If you hold onto the ball and win your set-piece ball you can come close to scoring four tries. We came close tonight (to those four tries), but we were clinical for about 60 minutes of the game tonight – that, in itself, was pleasing.
“We worked hard during our three-week break. It’s very rewarding when your hard work pays off, as it means that that work wasn’t for nothing. Conditions were tougher out there that people would have realised and, with that in mind, I thought our attack was good on the night too.”
The loss of a senior squad member like Tiaan Liebenberg was hardly felt in the end, with Scarra Ntubeni having a blinder in his first Super Rugby start in the No.2 shirt, and Coetzee revealed: “Tiaan had a back spasm late in the week. We hoped it would clear up, but it had worsened by yesterday.
“Hopefully we can have him back in the mix for next weekend, but if the team performs like this… well, the focus will be on tonight’s team and (tonight’s) performance ahead of the Kings game.
“Our young guys stood up. Scarra (Ntubeni) hasn’t played a lot lately, he was even cramping in the end, but he stood out. Damian de Allende keeps getting better with each game, he was colossal, and I thought the loose trio played well as a combination. Siya was big out there, Deon too and, of course, Nizaam Carr.”
Captain on the night, Deon Fourie, delivered yet another all-action display and he agreed with his coach’s assessment of the team’s performance.
Fourie, one of the Stormers’ three try-scorers, said: “With the amount of injuries and the build-up to the game… and the players’ attitude… it was all about regaining some lost pride out there (tonight). I think the guys showed tonight what the DHL Stormers jersey stands for.”
Looking ahead to next weekend’s clash against the Kings in Port Elizabeth, Coetzee concluded: “Look, we’re still not happy with our log position and we remain determined to win our last two matches.
“We know the Kings won’t be an easy proposition in PE and we also know that they’ll be waiting for us. That’s our focus for the next seven days and we will turn our attention to that game immediately.”
Meanwhile, from an injury point of view, Coetzee remained hopeful that Pat Cilliers (prop, ankle), Rynhardt Elstadt (flank, knee) and squad captain Jean de Villiers (sternum) would come into the selection equation for the trip to Port Elizabeth.
The coach will, as always, release a full injury update after Monday’s afternoon training session at the HPC.