Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee describes Friday evening’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the Crusaders as a huge one in the race for a semifinal berth.
Coetzee said the Stormers, who are currently sitting in second position on the log behind the Bulls, have their destiny in their own hands. “For us it’s important to improve from our last game.
“There’s not much wrong, just a few things that we need to tidy up. And this weekend is an opportunity against a quality side to get that right.”
The Stormers suffered a defeat to the Reds last weekend and made a number of unnecessary errors. The coach wants his boys to cut out on mistake and be more precise in whatever they will be doing on the field.
“It’s about execution at the end of the day. We’ve been dominant in all three of the games that we’ve lost. The opposition didn’t win those games, we lost them. The cause was our own doing, through lots of little errors we made.
“The players know that execution is of utmost importance, especially when you play against top quality sides like the Crusaders, the Bulls and the Sharks.”
The former Springbok assistant coach emphasised that this game is a critical one before they take on the Sharks in Durban next week and conclude the league phase of their campaign with a home game against the Bulls.
The Crusaders are also in the hunt for a semi-final berth and are in third place on the points’ table. A defeat would be a massive setback for them.
“We respect the Crusaders. They’ve been one of the most successful sides in this competition. We know it’s going to be one helluva game, but I’m happy with our preparations and we’re ready for this game.
“It’s a crucial game. If you look at the magnitude of the game…the Crusaders are going to come with everything, definitely. I’m sure we’re going to be up for this one.
“They’re on tour, so they’ll be up for this game. It has been a short week, but we are focused and ready. We’ve been dominant in the games we’ve lost. We’ve been dominant, but our execution let us down.”
Coetzee is not fazed by the statistics, which shows over the years the Crusaders have had the better of their Cape counterparts. “This is the first year since we’ve been together as a coaching staff, and a lot has changed since then.
“We’re very happy to be back playing in front of the Newlands faithful. We get a lot from the crowd in driving us to even better performances. We respect the Crusaders, one of the most successful sides in the competition and we know it’s going to be one helluva game.
“But I’m happy with the preparation and we’re ready for this game.”
Teams for Newlands:
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Sireli Naqelevuki, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Eusebio Guinazu, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem De Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.
Crusaders: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robert Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Chris Jack, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Daniel Bowden, 22 Jared Payne.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Assistant referees: Pro Legoete (South Africa), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)