Vodacom Stormers stay focused

PUBLISHED: March 23, 2010

Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has adopted a feet-on-the-ground policiy for the overseas leg of this team’s Vodacom Super 14 campaign.

The Stormers are sitting pretty in second position on the points’ table behind the Bulls and are enjoying a bye this weekend before departing for Australia and New Zealand where they play four games.

The success of the first part of the campaign hasn’t given Coetzee a false sense of security though. When asked about his team’s goal for the overseas part of the competition, the coach was rather sober in his assessment.

“We’re just looking at the Force. We try and keep things sane. We actually reached our target and goal for this one in terms of points, but we want to make sure that in four games we’ve got to win at least two games on tour.”

It seems the coach will have all his frontline players available for the tour. Juan de Jongh (elbow), Peter Grant (quad muscle) and Joe Pietersen (hip) are on the injury list but are expected to be ready to travel with their team-mates.

“It’s always good to have all your players available, which never happens in this game, but I’m fairly confident whoever we pick we’ll be happy with that,” commented the coach.

Coetzee lauded the team for the way they reacted to the late withdrawal of Grant on Saturday before the game against the Cheetahs at Newlands. “The quad strain that Bashy experienced during the warm-up was a huge disruption initially. Well, I thought it was going to be, but the side has really grown and this Stormers side has got great character.

“Willem (De Waal) just slotted in and to pull off a win against a helluva physical Cheetahs side is really no mean feat. It was a match of test quality in the sense of physicality and I’m very proud of what the team achieved at this stage of the competition.

“The win is the biggest positive with all that adversity. You mustn’t take anything away from the win. This is a team that is competitive in the scrums, lineouts and tight phases and our defence was outstanding again.

“Their try was thanks to the bounce of the ball. They came with a game plan which we covered well and we eventually forced them to deviate from their game plan and there was no other plan. And when they deviated from that game plan we stuffed them physically and this is what this team has got.”