Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus said there was still a lot of hard work to be done for his charges after their Super 14 opening round 16-9 defeat to the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers started the game very promisingly and led for almost the entire first half. But in the second half the Bulls managed to win more possession and also stole ample ball at the breakdown.
Erasmus rued the fact that his team couldn’t get enough quick and clean ball from the breakdown to really threaten the Bulls. He singled out the Newlands game as far slower than the rest of the Super 14 games of the weekend.
“We struggled to get the ball to come out of the ruck. I love the new ELVs, but they are supposed to speed up the game.
“If an attacking player takes the ball into a tackle, the reason it is not coming out is because somebody’s holding onto it or preventing it from coming out . If you watched any of the five games before this one you’d see how the free kick speeds up the game rather than slows it down.
“But the rucks were very slow on this occasion. I suppose we’ll have to go and look at the videos to find out where we went wrong,” he said.
Erasmus said this prevented his side from really showing their worth on attack. He, however, lauded the forwards for their effort.
“I think our forwards did well. But the real problems were at the breakdown rather than at the set pieces. If you can’t get quick ball from the rucks you can’t really play it wide.”
The Stormers were further hampered by unnecessary handling errors and balls lost in the tackle. “I think when you’re behind you have to keep your cool,” said Erasmus. “We were always going to be under pressure to score a try, and it was a combination of that and the way the Bulls defended at the end that led to the mistakes.
“The players showed a lot of guts and we have managed to get a bonus point, but we are very disappointed with the loss.”
The Stormers take on the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.