DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee is expecting an improved performance from his team in Vodacom Super Rugby action this weekend because they, themselves, demand it from within.
The Stormers went down 17-25 to the Vodacom Bulls in Super Rugby action in Pretoria last Friday.
Despite outscoring their hosts by two tries to one, the DHL Stormers made too many errors on the night to push for an opening victory.
However, speaking ahead of their meeting with the Sharks in Durban this Saturday, March 2 (kick-off 19h10), coach Coetzee said: “We’ve got to get it right this week. We’re playing against another top quality side – they will ask a lot of questions of us. We are aware of the challenge.
“It will be tough and the best we can do is stop worrying about what people think and say and how good other teams are,” he added.
“We’ve got to get it right here, from within. We have to put the pressure on ourselves to lift the standard and get it right. We must execute the plan that has been worked out.”
Captain Jean de Villiers, the Stormers’ first try-scorer against the Bulls, agreed with his coach.
“We need to come into the game with the game with the right frame of mind, knowing what to do to win up there and executing that. Sometimes you lose a game against a better side and sometimes you lose a game because you didn’t pitch – we didn’t pitch,” said the experienced centre, who will, once again, partner rookie Damian de Allende in the Stormers midfield.
“Losing will never be acceptable, but the manner in which we played was the most disappointing part of that game.
“The pressure will always be there and the expectations are higher this year. Last year we were under pressure because we didn’t score enough tries, this year we are under pressure because we have a good squad and we’re not winning,” added De Villiers.
“At the end of the day you need to go out and perform. We’re working towards playing better rugby and get a campaign going that’s acceptable to us as players.”
The Stormers have made just two changes from the side that went down to the Bulls – at tighthead prop (with Frans Malherbe rotating with Pat Cilliers) and at fullback (with Joe Pietersen replacing the injured Jaco Taute).
On the bench, meanwhile, Louis Schreuder replaces Dewaldt Duvenage (as the scrumhalf reserve), whilst experienced campaigner Peter Grant, back from Japan, will provide back-up for Elton Jantjies at flyhalf.
“Pat makes a big impact when he comes on and the fact that he could move to loosehead makes it easier,” said Coetzee about the change up front.
“It’s going to be tough at scrum time; we’re going to be challenged at set-piece. We noticed how they scrummed against the Cheetahs (last week), they have a strong pack.”
An ond the scrumhalf situation, which sees Nic Groom hold onto the No.9 jersey and Schreuder backing him up, Coetzee concluded: “There’s no pecking order yet. I’m pleased with Nic’s performance.
“It’s not the perfect game yet but it was the first time playing with Elton and it’s important to build a combination and make sure he gets another opportunity to play with Elton.”