Smal: Investec Stormers need to improve

PUBLISHED: February 8, 2005

The Investec Stormers set high standards for themselves and they know that Friday’s performance against the Gwent Dragons in Dubai was not up to scratch.

That was the verdict today from coach Gert Smal, whose team beat the Welsh side 47-17 on Friday night.

Smal said it was a good exercise to play against a team who is coming out of a competition phase. “They have their things worked out and have prepared well technically and physically. We are still at the start of our season.

“In the same breath I want to say it was not a good game for us if you look at it as a whole. We set high standards for ourselves and we need major improvement before the Super 12 kicks off.

“We would have seen much better execution – there were opportunities for tries that we didn’t take and the accuracy wasn’t good either. We put healthy pressure on ourselves to address those shortcomings and improve on them.”

The coach said he wants to see improvements in all aspects of the Stormers’ game. “The tight phases were okay, but not good enough. We scored a few good tries from first phase – Tonderai Chavhanga’s first try was particularly good – but I would love to see more of those.

“I think our first phase play and contact play also need to improve quite a bit.”

The one big positive coming from the first two warm-up games is the fact that the Stormers did not suffer any serious injuries. Smal said he would have follow-up talks today with the players who did not accompany the squad to Dubai.

They are Bolla Conradie, Chris Rossouw, Jean de Villiers and Riaan Olckers. “I am fairly optimistic that we would be able to consider them for the trip to London,” Smal commented.

The Stormers conclude their pre-season games with a clash against London Wasps the coming weekend.

“I want to give every player in the squad a chance to play, as it is important for the development of our depth. Everyone must get a fair chance show that they can have a good idea of how we want to play.

“You obviously have your first Super 12 game in mind and you want to plan accordingly,” said Smal.

Smal said the ideal would have been to give his strongest combination a run against Wasps, but he would have to consider the injury situation and then decide what would be in the best interest of the team.

Appointed captain for the season, Neil de Kock, looks ready and raring to go after his shoulder injury at the end of last season. The coach is also happy that Conradie would be ready to see action sooner rather than later.

“Both of them worked hard behind the scenes under supervision. We want to give the guys game time now. The upcoming game will be much more physical and will demand a lot more from the players than the previous two.”

The Stormers will be leaving for London on Thursday.