DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that his squad will take vital energy and confidence from their experience on Super Hero Sunday at Cape Town Stadium.
The spectacle at Cape Town Stadium made it completely different to any other pre-season game, with the Faithful turning up in their numbers and creating an incredible atmosphere as the DHL Stormers scored five tries in their hard-fought 33-28 win against the Vodacom Bulls.
Fleck was full of praise for the organisation of the event, which he says made for a special experience both on and off the pitch.
“The intensity that the game was played at was quite high for a warm-up game. It was a really good hit-out for both teams and it was good to see South African teams deliver.
“There is nothing better to prepare you for a Vodacom Super Rugby tournament than a weekend like this. This was a great initiative by SuperSport and the rugby bosses, we certainly enjoyed the week and the build-up.
“Having the fans here for both games just shows that rugby is still important in South Africa,” he said.
The DHL Stormers were up against a Vodacom Bulls team that boasted eight Springboks, so Fleck was pleased to see his side come through and claim the win, which he says will give them energy and confidence going forward.
“It creates a lot of confidence and energy within the group that we were able to match the side that they presented.
“For our guys it was a great opportunity, not a lot of them have played in front of 50 000 people or against international quality players like Schalk Brits, Duane Vermeulen, Handre Pollard and Lood de Jager.
“For the guys to step up and play like they did does a lot of confidence for the group. It also creates a lot of competition amongst our squad. We will be looking to integrate the rest of the players this week and they know that there are a lot of young kids in this group that are pushing hard,” he said.
The DHL Stormers made a fast start, scoring three unanswered tries, but did not have things all their own way against an impressive Vodacom Bulls team and Fleck was pleased with the way they managed to close the game out after being put under pressure.
“It was a nice start from us, we put them under pressure and they made a few errors and we capitalised on that. When they did make a mistake we had numbers around the ball, which is important.
“Credit to them and the way they clawed their way back into the game. We had a chat at half-time about how to stop their momentum. There was some outstanding defence in that second half and we spoke about it at half-time, so we knew we were going to be challenged,” he said.
The DHL Stormers coach stressed the fact that there is still plenty of room for improvement for his team, which is an encouraging sign.
“There were times where I felt we could have built more pressure and we didn’t have to force the offloads. I felt they got that balance right where they were able to build some phases against us.
“I believe there is still a lot out there in terms of our attack, which is a good sign. If we can get that balance right between the offloads and building a couple of phases and generating some quick ball we can be a lot more dangerous.
“The pleasing aspect is that there are still work-ons and we will rectify that before we go to Loftus,” said Fleck.
The only injury concern was scrumhalf Jano Vermaak who bruised his bicep.
The DHL Stormers team to face Boland Kavaliers in Wellington on Friday will be announced on Wednesday.