Stubborn Stormers can rest easier
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is relieved that his side came away with a hard-fought win against the Reds on Saturday.
The past week was one of the toughest in Stormers coach's Allister Coetzee's career and he is ultimately relieved that his side came away with a hard-fought win against the Reds.
The Stormers had an incredibly unsuccessful tour of Australasia and returned under huge pressure but managed to silence their critics, for the meanwhile, with a tight 20-15 win over the former Super Rugby champions at Newlands on Saturday.
Coach Coetzee has been under pressure from all angles this week and the relief was evident when he spoke to the press.
"This has been one of the toughest weeks in my career.
"Coming back from the unsuccessful tour with plenty of injuries and get a win against a quality side like the Reds says a lot about the character of this team. It is something that you can't coach." said Coetzee.
In a situation like the Stormers are in with injuries it is easy for them to lie down and concede but it is not in the nature of these players and they stood up and took responsibility on Saturday - especially the senior players.
"A lot of players stood up tonight, our leadership stood out - Bryan [Habana] and Jean [De Villiers] were outstanding," Coetzee added.
The joy was also evident on the face of the Stormers captain, and try-scorer, Jean de Villiers after the game.
"There was a lot of pressure on us and the way that the guys responded was great and the way we executed was great.
"The attitude was not any different to the previous games but tonight we were able to put phases together whereas in previous weeks we had the same intent but had too many handling errors," De Villiers mentioned.
The Stormers injury list has been well documented in the past weeks and it grew when they returned from their tour but they managed to put a side together on Saturday that was able to beat a Wallaby-laden Reds side.
"You can't have 16 guys injured and still beat a quality side like the Reds just on luck - it takes a massive effort," said the Springbok captain.
De Villiers said during the week that he has been involved with the Stormers for years and knows what it is like to come through tough patches and mentioned how memorable this win was for himself.
"This is one of my best wins as a Stormers player and there is a lot of relief after this game."
The Stormers have found themselves in a tough position this season in terms of the brand of rugby that they want to play but on Saturday they produced a fairly tidy, winning display of rugby.
De Villiers spoke about their tactical conundrum: "If you want to try and please everyone then you will find yourself in a situation where you don't really know who you are.”
The relief that echoed around Newlands was evident after a win against the current runners-up in Australian Conference and it seems that the Stormers camp can relax a little more as the pressure valve is eased a little.
By Nick Tatham