There were no excuses made by DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee following his side’s 29-10 loss in the Vodacom Super Rugby semifinal on Saturday evening.
The hosts were always playing catch up following a first-half blitz, which included tries from Sean Maitland and Robbie Fruean. Bryan Habana pulled one back on the stroke of half time, but our boys were unable to make up the difference against a powerful Crusaders.
Coetzee admitted that his team were beaten by the better side on the day. He said: “We are disappointed, but having said that it was an impressive performance by the Crusaders. They were outstanding and we congratulate them on an incredible display.
“We were a bit tactically naïve and we played too much rugby in our own half. They got a lot of points from turnovers, they scrummed very well and were highly competitive at the breakdown. We also made some elementary mistakes, but take nothing away from the Crusaders they were excellent tonight.”
Whilst it was not surprising that the team were downbeat, the coach still felt his side could be satisfied with the season they have had. “Obviously it is frustrating for everyone around the Stormers, but we are on the right track. We are at the tipping point and we just got to keep doing what we doing to get to the next level. No one is hungrier for silverware than us so we just need to keep staying patient and the trophies will come.
“I still think it has been a good season. We have shown great character and work ethic and we have continued the development of our squad depth with some excellent youngsters coming through.”
Stand-in captain Jean de Villiers echoed the coach’s sentiment on the fantastic depth being grown in the union. He said: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed with tonight’s loss, we can be happy with how some of the youngsters have come through this season. During this campaign we have blooded basically a whole team under the age of 23 and their development is a testament to the work of the WP Rugby Institute.”
The coach had a special word for the crowds at Newlands, who throughout this season have given the DHL Stormers fantastic support. He said: “Our support tonight was outstanding. The Newlands faithful were behind the team for the full 80 minutes and we are sorry we have disappointed them. We really appreciate the support and we thank all our fans for sticking by us throughout the campaign.”
Stormers 10-Try: Bryan Habana; Conversion: Peter Grant; Penalty: Peter Grant Crusaders 29-Try: Sean Maitland, Robbie Fruean; Conversions: Dan Carter (2); Penalties: Carter (5)