Coach Robbie Fleck, though, has a lot to ponder in terms of selection for Saturday’s crunch clash against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld (7.20pm kickoff).
However, the former Springbok centre actually feels that the drab affair in Singapore gave him more answers than questions as to what his best combination is going forward.
Fleck has regularly rotated combinations among the loose forwards, props and hookers, while the likes of Louis Schreuder and Johnny Kotze won starts at scrumhalf and right wing respectively against the Sunwolves.
But Nic Groom is sure to be back at No 9 at Loftus, and so too Leolin Zas at wing after he missed the Singapore trip due to suspension. “I wouldn’t say further (from knowing what the best Stormers team is) as there were a couple of individuals who really put their hands up. We probably are a little bit clearer about where we want to go in terms of selection,” Fleck said before leaving Asia.
He will have to settle on a first-choice combination for the rest of the competition, as it appeared as if the loose trio of Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr weren’t quite sure what type of roles they needed to fulfil.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Schalk Burger are pushing hard for a starting berth too, with the Stormers’ biggest problem being an out-and-out strong ball-carrier at blindside flank. That is perhaps the best place for Notshe to operate from, with Kolisi more familiar to the No 6 role, where he can attack the breakdowns, and Carr as the creative link-man at No 8.
Apart from the obvious lack of urgency on defence and creativity in the backline that needs to be addressed this week, Fleck will also have to deal with the poor discipline at the breakdowns as the Stormers were heavily penalised by New Zealand referee Paul Williams.
The coach admitted that the players were “little bit lazy to get back onside, and a little bit lazy at the breakdown area” in that regard.
But the Stormers managed to claim two log points with a last-gasp try, with Vincent Koch creating a turnover on the ground 15 metres from his line, and then ending off a thrilling passage of play by barging his way over at the opposite end of the ground.
That is what Fleck is taking out of the Sunwolves game. “The fact that we could score that try with minutes to go, and we ran it all the way, 10 metres from our own tryline, leaves us feeling satisfied. They showed the composure, guts and resilience to fight all the way and build those phases, and eventually get that try,” he said.
“We knew that we weren’t playing well and the guys were looking a bit flat. The Sunwolves were playing really well and things weren’t going our way. So it was going to be a test of the team’s character and their maturity, to see how react.
“That was the one thing we asked of the team, and even though it was ugly, we turned it around and came away with two points. For me, that’s the biggest positive – the team responded to the message at halftime and they asked questions of themselves.”
@IndyCapeSport - Independent Media
Original source: Fleck ‘clearer’ about Stormers selection