Stormers ‘need to pull socks up’

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The 13-6 victory in Perth wasn’t very pretty. In fact it was one of the most error-strewn matches of the season. But the Cape franchise managed to complete their best points haul on an overseas trip since 2012, which will set them up to possibly win back the top spot in the SA conference this coming weekend.

The four points they earned against the Force maintained the momentum gained from the bonus-point victory over the Waratahs the previous weekend following three successive defeats. And the Stormers can become the new SA conference leaders if they manage to beat the table-topping Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

For that to happen, though, the Stormers must lift their game after being dragged to the Force’s level. It seemed like the Stormers had one foot on the plane during the the match. They drifted in and out of the fixture, mixing the sublime with the average.

The Force are a difficult side to beat because of their spoiling tactics and over-reliance on the boot. But this Stormers team should have won a lot more convincingly.

After scoring 10 of their 13 points inside the first 10 minutes, which included a penalty try, it seemed like another four-try bonus point was on the cards. But the Stormers just couldn’t land that killer punch, as they blew a plethora of scoring chances. This allowed the spirited Force to come back in the match and almost snatch a draw at the death

In the end, the Stormers escaped with the points. And, for Coetzee, that’s all that matters in the end. “I’m pleased with the win, but not the performance. I think it wasn’t our best,” he said.

“Importantly, though, we kept on building on that good win against the Waratahs. Now we can view the tour as satisfactory. I’m really pleased with the character in the team and the will to win.

“For us, it’s mission accomplished. We turned it around on tour after a three-game losing streak.”

The Stormers’ attack is still a big issue. They are breaking the line and creating opportunities, but seem to be suffering stage fright when they see the tryline.

Kobus van Wyk dropped a perfectly-weighted pass from the unbelievable Schalk Burger when the Force’s defence parted like the Red Sea after a set move, while Nizaam Carr’s fabulous break came to nothing when he was brought down five metres from the tryline.

The Stormers’ attacking breakdown was a shambles, although the referee wasn’t really kind to them. But against the Bulls, who will be really physical in this department, the Stormers will need to pull their socks up.

“I think the fundamentals let us down, losing ball in crucial stages on attack,” Coetzee said.

“We created so many try-scoring opportunities off the back of a wonderful scrum performance. The players knew exactly where we went wrong because we weren’t playing towards the ball and we weren’t clinical at the breakdowns. So those are things that we are have to improve. But I’m positive that winning makes it easier for the following week.”

The Stormers will be boosted by the return of captain Duane Vermeulen for this weekend’s crunch match. However, it seems like right wing Van Wyk could miss the clash after limping off the field against the Force with a knee injury.

Van Wyk will be assessed today when the team arrives in the Mother City. If he is not available, Johnny Kotze or Huw Jones will start on the right wing.

“Kobus is the only casualty from this game,” Coetzee said. “But now we get our captain back, a fresh Duane Vermeulen for the home leg.

“With this win we are still right up there. It’s going to be nice to be at Newlands. The North-South derby will always be a big game.” - The Star

Original source: Stormers ‘need to pull socks up’

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