Rassie lauds his players

PUBLISHED: May 10, 2009

Vodacom Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus lauded his players after their exciting 25-24 victory over the Force in their last Vodacom Super 14 match at Newlands on Saturday.

The coach said: “I’m really glad for the players’ sake. They have worked hard and we had a few close ones. We didn’t always have great luck. At a stage tonight they could have given up and I thought there were one or two things that didn’t go our way.

“Like the whole season I thought they came out again and tried again and eventually it went our way and I am really happy for them.”

Erasmus agreed that the Stormers could have scored more tries than the three they did score eventually. “It could have been, I’m not sure. We were also lucky I think maybe with the try of Joe (Pietersen) at the end there, but surely Hilton’s (Lobberts) one and Dylan’s (Des Fountain) try was the obvious one that we missed.

“Bash (Peter Grant) had a charge down when I thought the advantage was over. But as I said before, if you look in your life at the bad luck and good luck overall it evens out and tonight we had a little bit of the good luck coming our way.

“We were definitely not lucky to win this game tonight. I think we could have beaten them by a few more points if we executed better in the final stages.”

In the build-up to Pietersen’s second try Des Fountain took out a defender and the Force players remonstrated with the referee about obstruction. “I didn’t see on the replay,” said Erasmus when asked about that incident.

“I was actually celebrating a little bit in my head but I heard afterwards there was a little bit of moans about obstruction there. That must be a little bit of the luck that went our way this season, so we will take that.”

The former Springbok loose-forward said selecting youngsters such as Tiger Bax and Pietersen instead of a veteran such as Percy Montgomery made sense at this stage of the season.

“I think for coaches, when you are sitting not pretty on the log, it’s tough to make calls like that cause you have guys like Percy Montgomery. But it would be selfish of me to try and save face in the eyes of the public and media and people and don’t think about the way we are going forward for the Currie Cup so I think the right call was to give Tiger Bax a run last week and to start with a guy like Joe, who will be playing for us in the Currie Cup so I am relieved that it worked.

“I am glad for them that they stepped up to the mark but in the same breath its not that I didn’t have any faith in a guy like Percy. It just didn’t make any sense for me that with us already out of the competition to try and save face and take the easy, solid option if you know you are building for the Currie Cup, so in that regard I am really relieved these guys came through.”