Vodacom Stormers assistant coach Allister Coetzee is confident that they are on course for a good Super 14 season.
The Stormers play the first of two friendly matches against Boland at Wellington on Saturday. The second one is on 2 February, against a Vodacom WP XV at Newlands.
They then start their campaign with a home game against the defending champions, the Bulls, on 16 February.
Asked whether two games will be enough to get his charges match sharp, Coetzee said he thought they were. “We have two games and I think they are sufficient for what we want to achieve.
“We don’t want to peak in the friendly matches, but want to ensure we are ready for the first match against the Bulls. Our training sessions have been planned in such a way that there are enough contact sessions.
“I think our planning is on course and I am completely at ease with how things are going. I am really enjoying it and the coaching staff work well together.
“We are five guys – Brendan Venter, Louis Koen, Gary Gold, Rassie and I – who talk rugby all the time. Each one has his area of responsibility and we work together exceptionally well.”
Coetzee coached Eastern Province at Currie Cup level and also played his rugby for the union where he was born. He is a thoroughbred EP man, but said he enjoys being part of the Stormers setup.
“You must remember Rassie is also an Eastern Cape man and look where he is today! It is going really difficult in EP at the moment. One wants your home province to do well and to be on top, but they are really experiencing lean times there.
“The Stormers job is a nice new challenge for me after my stint with the Boks. Life is about challenges and if I can contribute, I will try to. You don’t want to coach where there are no challenges, where everything comes easily.
“The Stormers and WP have struggled the past few seasons, so the challenge is for me to make a difference. It is easy to coach where the team is riding the crest of the wave, but for a coach it is a challenge to coach where you need to turn things around.
“To work with Rassie is also great. He is as passionate as I am about the game and his knowledge of the game is amazing. It is nice to work with guys who are on the same page.”
Coetzee is strongly of the opinion that it would not take long for the Stormers and WP to once again become a force in SA rugby. “WP has a history of excellence and the type of rugby they play is what has people in ecstasy.
“The Province tradition is what draws people to Cape Town and what makes them support this union. It was not difficult for me to decide to become part of this setup and I believe we have the ingredients to turn things around.”
STORMERS FRIENDLY VS BOLAND – WELLINGTON – 19 JANUARY 2008
Kick-off 18:00 Vodacom Stormers vs Boland
Kick-off 16:30 Vodacom WP vs Boland
Tickets now on sale @ Perel Sports Winkel on 021-872 9661
Boland office 021-873 2317
Main Stand R50 each incl. VAT
Other stands R30 each incl. VAT
Scholars R10 each incl. VAT.
STORMERS FRIENDLY VS VODACOM WP INV XV – NEWLANDS – 2 FEBRUARY 2008
17:00 Vodacom Stormers vs Vodacom WP Invitation XV
R10 entrance fee. No reserved seats.