Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe described the last-gasp 23-19 defeat to the Hurricanes in a Vodacom Super 14 match at Newlands on Saturday evening as heartbreaking.
The coach, however, promised that his side would work harder to eradicate the shortcomings in their game. The Stormers take on the Cheetahs at Newlands this coming Saturday and Van der Merwe said his team would like to beat their South African counterparts before departing overseas.
The Hurricanes, trailing 9-3 at halftime, came with a mighty onslaught in the last 20 minutes and a try by Hosea Gear with two minutes left on the clock broke Stormers hearts.
“The guys are obviously very disappointed. It is heartbreaking stuff. They tried really hard tonight,” commented Van der Merwe afterwards.
“I am very proud of the way they stood up and their passion and commitment. I am extremely proud of them, but you know, it’s the small margins that count at this level and hopefully they are going to swing in our favour sometime.”
The Stormers, with Jean de Villiers back at inside centre and Marius Joubert at left wing, played much better than last week. Asked about the better performance on attack, the coach joked that the media must keep on criticizing them.
On a serious note he added: “We spoke about positioning the forwards better from phase play and keeping a bit more width to give us a bit more options and I think it worked beautifully in the first half.
“In the second half we went back into the shell again. But credit should go to them; they really came back at us hard.”
The Stormers pack competed well in the lineouts and in the loose and also had the better of the set scrums. They could, however, only score one try and spurned a few other try-scoring opportunities.
Captain De Wet Barry said: “Yes, there were one or two opportunities. They defended well. I think our guys played much better this week and I’m quite proud of them as well.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t get over the try-line more, but credit to them as well.”
Van der Merwe said he was forced to take fullback Werner Greeff off the field and replace him with Chumani Booi. “Werner actually couldn’t carry on. He couldn’t lift his arm and we had to pull him out at that stage. That is why I asked Marius to stay on until the end.”