The DHL Stormers showed good character to claim a 27-16 victory against the Cell C Sharks at DHL Newlands and end their season on a positive note.
The coastal derby was fiercely fought, but the DHL Stormers managed to outscore the visitors by three tries to one in an attritional battle in front of the DHL Newlands Faithful.
DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that what stood out for him was the character and commitment shown by the players in the last game of the season.
“We played with a bit of pride and a bit of character and for the jersey.
“It is nice to finish off on a high, we have show a lot of promise building up to a good lead at half-time which has been a common theme for us this year.
“The first half showed what this team is capable of doing. We will look back at it and regret losing to the Waratahs and the Sunwolves and the Lions, if we had won two of those games we would have qualified for the quarterfinals, but it has been one of those seasons,” he said.
Despite some tricky conditins against a motivated opponenet at DHL Newlands, Fleck’s charges managed to keep their focus and took their chances.
“Our finishing and execution has let us down this year, but tonight in the first half it was good.
“It was a tough game in testing conditions, even though there wasn’t any rain it was slippery underfoot and difficult handling conditions.
“We were quite dominant in our carries and we got over the advantage line and kept hammering away and created a bit of space,” he said.
It was another tough week with regular captain Siya Kolisi sidelined with illness and flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis ruled out with a groin injury. Despite these challenges, Fleck was pleased with the way the team responded.
“It was another challenging week for us, if we look at how we have gone this season with late withdrawals through sickness or injury, changes to the 23 at late notice and injuries at the beginning of the season it has been a tough challenge for the players and obviously for the management to get guys up to speed quickly,” he said.
While disappointed with the season overall, Fleck said that the team will be stronger for the lessons they learned in the 2018 campaign going forward.
“We are obviously not happy with where we are, there were a huge amount of lessons this year. We believe that we have the squad and the management to take this franchise back to the top and that will be our motivation,” Fleck added.