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Bounce of the ball eludes Stormers

Tue, 09 Apr 2013 12:49
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It just hasn't come our way at all
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Stormers coach Allister Coetzee believes that effort and hard work will help his team turn around a season teetering on the brink of a disaster.

Having won the South African conference two years in succession and with a host of high-profile imports - some on loan and others permanent - the Stormers were installed as pre-tournament favourites for 2013.

But eight weeks into the Super Rugby competition the Cape Town-based outfit is hovering in lowly 11th place and not looking likely to repeat last year's first place finish on the tournament standings - with just two wins from six starts.

While Coetzee admitted it is only going to "get tougher" every week, he is not about to give up the fight and is convinced his charges will still have a role to play come play-off time.

"We are under no illusions that it is a tough task," Coetzee told a media scrum at the team's base in Cape Town, ahead of the arrival of the Sharks - the current pace-setters in the SA conference.

"The Sharks are an incredibly good team," the Stormers mentor said, adding: "It is vital that we get our campaign back on course with a positive result from the match this weekend.

"It is vital that we get the points."

He admitted they are "concerned" with their current lowly position in the tournament.

"Nobody will be happy with two [wins] from six [starts] - it is certainly not the result of bad attitude or a lack of effort.

"There is a lot of things that contributed to our [poor] results and the bounce of the ball is one of them.

"It just hasn't come our way at all.

"The other aspect is the untimely injuries, which disrupt our rhythm and continuity."

Coetzee admitted the team is as much to blame as the odd bounce of the oval-shaped ball, with unforced errors a major contributing factor.

"We did very well against the Chiefs and the Brumbies [the only wins this season]," he said, adding: "This past Saturday again we wasted opportunities."

The coach said there were positives to be taken from their most recent loss, a last-minute Burton Francis penalty sealing a 26-24 win for the men from Bloemfontein last Saturday.

"Our line-outs were outstanding - not just our own ball, but also our defensive line-outs. I just wasn't happy with the scrumming.

"When we keep ball in hand we put teams under massive pressure.

"From a negative point of view, the silly turnovers hurt us in the game.

"The Cheetahs scored both their tries from turnovers, one from right under their posts - a poor pass, they kicked ahead and scored at the other side of the field."

He said they are working on eradicating those errors.

"The players understand and players know they have to take individual responsibility - they don't do it on purpose.

"No players turn up with a bad attitude and lack of effort, it is the result of mistakes . At this level it is costly if you don't keep those [mistakes] to a minimum."

Coetzee also dismissed the notion that the Stormers' conservative, defence-orientated game plan is a problem.

"I don't think our approach [tactics] is wrong," he said, adding" It is just errors that have a snowball effect on the team.

"When you make mistakes doubt creeps into the team."

He said they will never give up and will turn it around soon.

"I am very positive about the effort the players put in every day. We had a chat about the responsibility of individuals [last] Saturday.

"It will turn somewhere, it has to turn.

"We are under no illusion that it will take effort and hard work and that is what we are prepare to put in - we have to pick up our accuracy and intensity on Saturdays and play with a massive workrate."

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