Once again, I think we beat ourselves
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee believes a triple blow to his forward pack late in the game was decisive in the defeat to the Waratahs.
The Cape side held a 15-11 lead over their hosts heading into the final ten minutes of their match in Sydney but lost Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt and Deon Fourie in quick succession as a late blitz from the Waratahs snatched victory.
“We really threw everything at the Waratahs tonight [Saturday], but it seems to not be going our way. We had the ascendancy going into those final ten minutes but we suffered three big injuries – we lost Duane [Vermeulen], Rynhardt [Elstadt] and, also, Deon Fourie [a bit earlier].
“It came at a crucial stage of the game - we were leading 15-11… [but] just one mistake at a line-out; we knocked on, they kicked the ball through and that’s where they got their winning try," said Coetzee.
Loose forwards Vermeulen and Elstadt both injured their knees whilst Fourie hurt his ribs, and Coetzee admitted after the game that they could be long-term issues.
It’s not looking good at this point in time.
“Duane hurt his knee, it looks like his MCL. Rynhardt is similar [also the knee], it seems, and it could be long-term. Deon Fourie hurt his ribs.
“I am awaiting results on all those injuries, before we know the full extent. Those three are the big injuries after tonight’s game," he explained.
The Stormers boss said that he was proud of the effort his team showed in their grinding display which saw them take a bonus point to Melbourne as they look to end their tour on a high against the Rebels.
“We’re really hurting, it wasn’t the result we wanted, but I have to commend the players for the effort out there tonight [Saturday].”
“What hurts even more is that we’re making mistakes at crucial stages - costly errors - it happened last week and it happened again today [Saturday],” added Coetzee.
“Defensively we were outstanding and our set-piece functioned well. It was a typical Test-match out there, it was a hard-fought dog-fight. We knew we had to slog it out, but, once again, I think we beat ourselves.
“The bounce of the ball really does not favour us at this point in time, but one must give credit to the Waratahs. They kept their composure and they stuck it out to the end. It was a Test-match situation as I said, it was a physical game, but they fronted up until the end,” he said.