Victorious DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee praised his team for their focus, as the South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference leaders ran in five tries to beat the Cheetahs by 42-12 at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.
The DHL Stormers all but secured the SA Conference title in the process in their tenth win of the year, in fact, they need just three more log points from their last two Super Rugby matches to record an unprecedented third SA Conference title in five seasons.
“The players really stepped up in all departments. The focus was there,” said Coetzee on the official DHL Stormers website (www.iamastormer.com), the DHL Stormers having led by 23-7 at half-time.
“I think we did the basics very well, we played in the right areas, we didn’t force things and adapted to the conditions, and when we had to put pressure with ball in hand we did that.
“Of course there were a few opportunities out there that we didn’t finish but it is still a work in progress.
“They say the road to success is always under construction. There is never a complete game, but we’re certainly trying our best to get close.”
When asked about any potential negatives from their five tries to two victory, Coetzee admitted: “We need to finish more, we are creating enough opportunities. One thing that was frustrated was that our attacking ball was slowed down, that is something we need to work on.”
The only injury worry from the weekend is hooker Scarra Ntubeni, who was forced to leave the field in the 19th minute with a calf strain.
Ntubeni is set to miss this Saturday’s clash against the Lions, but Coetzee is hoping to have powerful flanker Michael Rhodes (hamstring) and hard-running winger Kobus van Wyk (knee) back in the selection frame.
“It is good to be in a position with all of your players back at this stage of the competition. We have gone unbeaten before and then we were scrambling for players (and we were forced to play a hooker at No.8),” said the DHL Stormers boss.
“We still need to rest Duane Vermeulen, we still need to rest Eben Etzebeth once, but we have still got two games to do that.”
“It’s not easy for me (selection-wise), we have got Michael Rhodes and Schalk Burger coming back and the loosies really played well.
“If you are playing behind a tight five that is solid like ours then your loosies can really do their job.”
Meanwhile, Saturday’s match was Naka Drotské’s final match in charge – he will be stepping away from the game to pursue business interests – and DHL Stormers boss Coetzee paid tribute to his long-time rival.
Coetzee said: “Naka has been a real servant of Cheetahs rugby, he has done a helluva lot with little resources over the years.
“From his playing days I can just pay tribute to Naka and I’m sure Cheetahs rugby will miss him.”