Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe pronounced himself happy with his team’s performance in Friday night’s Vodacom Super 12 match 15-15 draw against the Brumbies at Newlands.
He said he could not agree with people who felt the Stormers – who led 9-3 at halftime – threw the game away, just like in the previous weekend’s match against the Waratahs.
“I think we actually played bloody well in the second half too. If you look at the opportunities we also created in the second half, there were plenty. Like I said last week, one mistake can cost you the game.
“We made one mistake on the attack inside their 22, there was a 70 meter turnover against us and they scored from there. That was the difference between two points and four points.”
The coach said he was extremely proud of his players. “There is a bit of mixed emotions, because we could have won, but I am very proud of the guys. If you just look at the experience – they played against a full international backline and we had territorial advantage and we had the momentum.
“I thought the guys played really well. This is a young team that is still learning and they will learn every week. It was already a step up from last week and hopefully next week is hopefully going to be better in the error department. I am extremely proud of the guys.”
Van der Merwe said the Stormers played probably the two top teams in the competition – except for the Crusaders – over the past two weeks and came close to beating them. “I think there is a lot of positives to be taken from this.”
Questions were asked about a perceived lack of creativity from the Stormers. They scored all their points on Friday night via the boot of flyhalf Peter Grant.
Van der Merwe said people needed to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the team. “The Brumbies have got a fantastic backline and we couldn’t move the ball around as much as we’d like to.
“A guy like Jean (de Villiers) is obviously missed at centre with his creative abilities. But then I think Gus (Theron) was fantastic on defence – I think few guys would have defended like him today. So, its very difficult to say play with snap, crackle and pop, but then you lose by 40 points.
“I certainly think few people would be happy with that. I think that is part of the perception that the Stormers chuck everything around and they run from everywhere.
“It is fantastic entertainment, but you don’t get any points on the log for it. Unfortunately you need points on the log. No one is going to back a team that plays fantastic rugby, but finishes last on the log. It is about winning and we want to be a winning team.”
The Vodacom Stormers next tackle the Highlanders on Saturday at Newlands. Kick-off is 17:00.