The Vodacom Stormers have to lift their heads and concentrate on their next assignment – the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday – after the devastating defeat to the Highlanders.
Coach Kobus van der Merwe admitted after the game the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow. He said he was “utterly heart-broken”.
The coach now has to find a way to lift the mood in the camp after the Cape franchise suffered their third defeat in four Vodacom Super 14 starts this season.
“That was a game we should have won,” Van der Merwe said. “We threw it away. We did almost all the playing, but we just kept making stupid mistakes that cost us. We gave away 24 points through stupid errors.”
Captain Luke Watson preferred to laud the opponents for the way they performed.
“You have to give credit to the Highlanders,” said Watson. “They arrived back in New Zealand (from South Africa) a day after us and adapted to the conditions better than we did.
“We weren’t as clinical as we’d like to be. At times we strung some phases together but we had a lot of turnovers and you can’t afford that.
“The Highlanders are a very physical side. The last few times we’ve played here it’s been wet and raining so we were aiming to play a forward-oriented game but, in the end, the conditions were great and the backs stepped up well.”