Nobody likes losing, least of all DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee, but he still declared himself satisfied with Saturday’s pre-season hit-out against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
A youthful DHL Stormers XV went down 26-27 to the Cheetahs, after conceding a last-second penalty goal from 55 metres out, but Stormers coach Coetzee was more interested in his team’s performance than the result.
Said Coetzee: “I wasn’t happy with the performance, but I achieved what I wanted (to) from the match.
“It’s good to win, nobody likes losing, but we mustn’t forget that these are just warm-up matches,” added Coetzee, “the Super Rugby log is still played 0, won 0, lost 0 for everyone.
“This game was always about Eben Etzebeth getting 60 minutes, Nizaam Carr getting 60 minutes and Jaco Taute getting his first 60 minutes in a DHL Stormers jersey. That happened and I’m happy about that.
“It’s all part of the conditioning phase, with the Super Rugby tournament still three weeks away, and although we weren’t as sharp as we could’ve been we’re building towards February 22 (against the Bulls).”
The Stormers will face the Boland Cavaliers at the Cape Town Stadium next Saturday and Coetzee will mix up his selection once more in order to give all his squad members some game time before the official Vodacom Super Rugby season gets underway.
“The Boland game is another step (for us) in our pre-season preparation,” explained the Stormers boss.
“We’ve got three more weeks to get things right and to increase our sharpness and a real positive is how hard everyone has been working up till now.”
With stars Deon Fourie, Andries Bekker, Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers all expected to feature against Boland, Coetzee and his coaches will work through the squad’s medical report when they get back to their training base in Bellville on Monday morning.
“(Centre) Juan de Jongh has a bit of a hamstring niggle and (forward) Michael Rhodes injured himself in the warm-up,” reported Coetzee.
“We have a very long season ahead of us, so we will continue to manage our players over the next three weeks, but this was just the beginning (for us) in terms of our 2013 preparation.”
* The Regent Boland Cavaliers will host the DHL Stormers in a pre-season friendly at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, February 9 at 14h45.
A curtain-raiser will take place between a Boland Invitational XV and a DHL WP Vodacom Cup XV at 12h30.
Tickets are priced at R50 and R75 and are available at Computicket, Shoprite and Shoprite Checkers. No tickets will be sold at the stadium on the day.