Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe attributed Saturday’s stunning 30-17 Vodacom Super 14 victory over the Hurricanes in Palmerston North to team work.
He said he was very happy with the win and the performance. “I am very happy with the win. The guys played as a team, they played for each other and they showed that they can develop into a devastating combination.”
Van der Merwe, however, realizes that the pressure is not off the team yet after a slow start to their campaign. “The nature of this competition is that there will always be pressure. There are 13 rounds of matches, one after the other, and each week brings new challenges and different pressures,” he said.
“As far as the week leading up to the match, there was pressure from back home but we remained focused on the task at hand and it showed in the result.”
Comparing the performance against the Hurricanes to the one of the previous week, when they came unstuck against the Highlanders, Van der Merwe said: “We limited our mistakes and succeeded in putting the Hurricanes under pressure from the start.
“We always said that we wanted to start with the same intensity as there was at the end of the previous match and we achieved that. We have now scored 11 tries in our last three matches, which show that we are consistently improving.”
A feature of the Cape franchise’s performance was the huge contribution made by the Springboks. De Wet Barry and Jean de Villiers at centre were particularly outstanding.
Van der Merwe, however, had praise for all his Boks and didn’t want to single out anybody. “All of the Springboks put their hands up in this game. Jean, De Wet, Bolla, Schalk Burger, Eddie Andrews, Gerrie Britz and Bretyton Paulse all put in a monumental effort for the Stormers cause.”
The young Peter Grant was equally impressive at flyhalf and attacked the gain line relentlessly for 80 minutes, causing confusion in the Hurricanes’ defence. His coach was duly full of praise for the former SA Schools flyhalf’s effort.
“I was very impressed with the way he attacked the advantage line and the number of time he broke that line. His defence was also fantastic and it was no wonder that he was singled out by the media as the stand-out player on the day.”