There were shades of 2012 for a pleased DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee after his team’s memorable 21-19 win over the Sharks in Durban this past weekend.
The DHL Stormers class of 2012 grabbed a 19-14 Vodacom Super Rugby win over the Bulls in Pretoria almost two years to the day and Coetzee again lauded his team’s character after this latest display – thanks to Jaco Taute’s last-gasp drop-goal.
“It comes close to one of our biggest wins in a DHL Stormers jersey,” Coetzee told the www.iamastormer.com website on Sunday morning. “Considering the amount of players that are missing, it’s fantastic and a really big one for us.”
Looking back at 2012, when a similarly injury-hit DHL Stormers scored a win against the odds, Coetzee added: “There’s a lot of similarities from yesterday’s win and that win at Loftus Versfeld two years ago.
“Not many people gave us a chance two years ago and we also went into the match – the last game before the international break – with a lot of new, young faces.
“Siya Kolisi, in his first year of Super Rugby in 2012, made a crucial pass in the lead-up to Bryan Habana’s match-winning try in 2012 and, again, this year Siya handled the ball just before it went to Manuel Carizza and then Sailosi Tagicakibau in the lead-up to Jaco Taute’s drop-goal.
“I think a lot of people wrote us off this year by looking at our team on paper, but the young men – the youth brigade – in this team made up for their lack of experience by bringing plenty of attitude and intensity to the party.
“I’m particularly pleased for those players, the younger members of our squad,” continued Coetzee.
“Prop Ali Vermaak scrummed well, (prop) Sti Sithole did well in the two minutes he got (towards the end), lock Ruan Botha continues to grow with every game he plays, lock Jean Kleyn did well at lock when he came on and flank Nizaam Carr performed brilliantly yet again.
“At the same time, and importantly, I thought our senior guys stood up well and Duane Vermeulen once again showed his strong leadership skills.”
Saturday’s win, over the table-topping Sharks, was the DHL Stormers’ first away from home in 2014 and sixth overall.
It was also their third win in a row – and first in Durban since 2011 – ahead of the four-week international break during June.
Said Coetzee: “We still made a lot of mistakes and our set-piece wasn’t the best it’s been this season, but the win has given us a lot of confidence.
“We need to keep improving as we want to end the season on a high, with two more home games ahead of us in early July.
“We will enjoy our break, some players really need the time off, but we need to ensure we carry this momentum into those last two games.”
Coetzee has given his players – those not part of the Springbok squad – off for the next week, before the remaining squad players will be required to start training on their own in the second week of their break. The players will then resume team training in the third week of June.
* Flyhalf Kurt Coleman (concussion) and centre Damian de Allende (knee) were the only new DHL Stormers injury worries after the Sharks clash.
Coleman was already showing good signs of recovery, with no serious damage to his face, but De Allende would be reassessed by the Springbok medical staff after joining up with the Bok Test squad in Cape Town on Sunday.