‘We played the big points well’

PUBLISHED: March 1, 2015

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee praised his team for “playing the big points well” after their dramatic 22-19 Vodacom Super Rugby, Round Three win over the Lions on Saturday night.

The unbeaten DHL Stormers took the lead for the first time in the 77th minute at Emirates Airlines Park, after a well-executed maul try by Siya Kolisi, which was well converted by Kurt Coleman.

However, they had to absorb wave-after-wave of Lions attack deep into injury-time, as the hosts threw everything at them – taking the ball past 20 phases as they pushed for what would have been a match-winning try.

A clearly pleased – but modest – Coetzee told the official DHL Stormers website on Saturday night: “In the context of the match, the better team was the team that played the big points well and we did that.

“The one line-out mattered and we took it (with Siya Kolisi’s try) and Kurt Coleman kicked a brilliant (touchline) conversion that mattered too. The Lions were brave to go for it (the win), but in this competition you need to take the points on offer – especially at home.

“But, really, I thought the Lions were very brave and they played well. They had us under pressure but most of the time because of our own unforced errors – mainly in our set-piece.

“We showed intent with ball in hand but the only concern for me was our attacking breakdown. If we generated more quick ball we would’ve had more opportunities… don’t forget we were over the line twice but didn’t have the tries awarded. I think we put them under pressure when we had the opportunity.”

The DHL Stormers are one of just three unbeaten teams remaining in the 2015 Super Rugby tournament, but coach Coetzee remained adamant that his gutsy charges had plenty to work on.

“They were brave, but I am happy and grateful for the win, especially up here in Johannesburg. Remember, last year we lost heavily in our first game of the season (10-34), yet, this year, we showed plenty of guts and character to pull it through and I am very pleased with the result.

“We know we did badly in certain areas of the game but, yet, the character we showed – especially at the end – was something special.

“The Lions threw the kitchen sink at us, but couldn’t get the victory and that was important for us and we need to take this momentum now further into the competition,” said Coetzee.

“We stuck it out in tough conditions and despite not playing well, making a lot of unforced errors, we came away with the win. I know it might sound like a cliche but sometimes when you play badly and win it’s a good thing.”

Meanwhile, hard-working skipper Duane Vermeulen praised his fellow players for “defending like Trojans” in the dying minutes of Saturday’s encounter.

When asked about the DHL Stormers’ Herculean defensive performance against the Lions, the powerful No.8 admitted: “We didn’t know much to be honest… we just defended!

“Credit to my team, the guys defending like Trojans and put their bodies on the line. We’re happy with the result, especially away from home, in the face of some sustained pressure.”

The DHL Stormers will play host to the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday, March 7 (kick-off 19h10) in their fourth clash – and second at home – in 2015.

DHL Western Province, preparing for the 2015 Vodacom Cup, will host the SWD Eagles beforehand in a pre-season friendly at 16h45.