Captain Luke Watson firmly believes last Saturday’s defeat to the Cheetahs was just a minor setback. And that the Vodacom Stormers will bounce back with a bang against the Western Force on Friday night at Newlands.
“It (the performance in Bloemfontein) serves as motivation and inspiration and was to a certain extent a wake-up call,” said Watson.
The flank said the Stormers are well aware of where they came short against the Cheetahs. “We have to pick up our performance at the contact point, especially when it comes to the physical encounter.
“Our tight five has come under heavy scrutiny and criticism over the last week and I think it is very important that they stamp their authority on the game and also show the public and the opposition what they are made of.
“For us it is very important to do well at the contact point and that we manage to keep our hands on the ball. Last week was just a very bad week at the office. This week we got all the structures, the patterns we need to play and the personnel thereafter, so we have full confidence in our abilities.”
Watson said the Stormers would not lack motivation for their first game at their beloved Newlands. Looking back to last Saturday’s game, he said initially the players were very disappointed, but they managed to rectify the mistakes.
“We looked at the structures and patterns that didn’t work and now I think it serves as incredible motivation for the guys. We are fully aware of the fact that we completely underplayed and that we threw the game away,” explained Watson.
“That will serve as motivation, especially for the tight five, who have come under criticism this week and the side that runs on the field will be a very motivated and very inspired one.”
Commenting on the decision to make only two enforced changes to the 22-man squad, Watson said he agreed with the coaches that wholesale changes were not necessary at this stage.
“The coaches obviously know they have depth in players and could have reacted by making a whole lot of changes, but it’s very early in the competition. As I stated before there were six of the teams that lost at the weekend, there were six of the teams that were in the same situation as us.
“This is the first week of the competition and I think it is important that we to the best of our abilities try and get a rhythm going, try and get some consistency. We need to establish various partnerships and relationships within the team so that the guys could get used to playing with each other.
“From my point of view I think the coach has done the correct thing by showing a bit of confidence in the players, not giving players another chance, but allowing them to redeem themselves.”
Turning to the opposition, Watson said the Force and the Stormers are in the same boat. He however added there are many other teams who are keen to redeem themselves this weekend.
“There are many teams who lost in first weekend, who want to raise their games. As for us, we are not going to look at what exactly motivates and inspires the Western Force.
“We are going to worry more about our game and the lack of physical presence last week, the lack of fist phase possession and try to work on our structures and our patterns and implement them this week.”
Watson had the following message to the fans: “We as a team were very disappointing last weekend. From the Vodacom Stormers players to the Vodacom Stormers supporters we make a commitment that the performances are going to get better and better every week.
“This week we are going to bounce back and there will be even more commitment, more motivation and even more passion from the Vodacom Stormers.”