DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee heaped the praise on his players for a ‘satisfying’ finish to a tough 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The Men from the Cape ended the 2013 Super Rugby season with a terrific 30-13 win over the Bulls in Cape Town this evening and coach Coetzee was wearing a broad smile after the game.
“It was a very satisfying victory for us. We’ve worked hard, we wanted five from five after our team and we achieved that,” said Coetzee.
“It was an outstanding performance from the team, but more than the wins… we’ve displayed some consistency in (our game in) these past few matches and that was pleasing. It was pleasing because what we’ve been working on has paid off.
“The Bulls had a lot to play for here tonight, but we shut them out. It was the first time that I’ve been involved in a Stormers team that has put 30 points past the Bulls, so it shows how imposing we were out there tonight.”
Given the team’s impressive five-game winning streak to finish the season, and their record as having beaten all the 2013 Super Rugby Conference winners at DHL Newlands (the Brumbies, the Bulls and the Chiefs), this season’s campaign will always be remembered as one that might have been for the DHL Stormers…
“Yes, we’ve beaten five of the top six teams on the final log, but that consistency is a big one for us – that consistency we’ve displayed in these last few games,” explained Coetzee.
“I think we’ve been unlucky this season – in a few games – which perhaps did cost us (in the end) and we did have a very long injury list. It’s no excuse though, we ultimately have only ourselves to blame this season.
“I’m really pleased, however, that we managed to turn it around. There wasn’t much for us to play for today, but it showed our pride out there and what it means for these players to play in a DHL Stormers jersey,” added the Stormers coach.
“I can promise you though, we’ve learnt lessons. As a management team, as a coaching staff… somehow during the course of the year, given our injuries and bad luck we let a few things slip (in a way), but we got it right after the break and that’s pleasing.”
Coetzee, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for the crowd at DHL Newlands tonight – with over 45,000 fans packing the stadium in this massive match. “I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the DHL Newlands Faithful,” he said.
“There was nothing riding on today’s match, except for pride, yet we had over 45,000 people packed into DHL Newlands. Other stadiums are empty around the rugby world… but today was a fitting way for us to say thank you to everyone for supporting us.
“I know those big fans of ours, The Faithful, will have bragging rights at work on Monday – it’s our way of saying thanks for the undying support this year!”
Like his coach, skipper Jean de Villiers was also proud of his troops for finishing the season so strongly – on the same day that the DHL Western Province Under-18 team ended the 2013 Craven Week with a third win in succession to be crowned as unofficial champions.
In the process, the Province Craven Week team joined the DHL WP Under-13 and Under-16 teams as the unofficial champions of their respective youth weeks this season – as WP suffered just one defeat in ALL schools tournaments across the country in 2013.
De Villiers, one of his team’s three try-scorers this evening, said: “A lot happened this year and, yet, we still managed to end the season with five straight wins and we beat five out of the top six teams and we managed to finish seventh (in the end).
“If you look at the draw we had this year, with a start against three of the top sides, we didn’t play the bottom sides in the Australian or New Zealand Conferences and, at one stage, we had something like 16 injuries. The squad was affected by what happened to Schalk Burger, he’s a dear friend of ours, there was the death of Elton Jantjies’s father… Tinus Linee’s illness – those are things that are happening within your squad and hits you hard emotionally.
“Lessons learnt… yes… but, still, we can still be proud of what we did this year. Unfortunately we’re not in the play-offs, but I’m still damn proud to call myself a Stormer.”
Speaking about the success of the various WP youth sides this year, which saw Province defeat the Blue Bulls at Under-13, Under-16 and Under-18 level, De Villiers added: “The WP Under-13s won, the Under-16s won… the guys won the Craven Week today.
“It seems like we’re doing something right in the Western Cape. I am proud to be a Stormer and I’m proud to say I’m part of Western Province Rugby.”