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Resilient Stormers pleases Coetzee

Sun, 02 Feb 2014 11:52
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Schalk Burger played a full 80 minutes
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Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee was pleased with his team's pre-season victory over the Bulls in Polokwane on Saturday, but not only because of the favourable result.

The men from the Cape scored four tries to three – two from rolling mauls and two from backline players – as they bounced back from a 5-12 half-time deficit to secure the victory in front of a lively crowd at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

“I’m pleased with where we are as a team after our first pre-season match,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website on Saturday night.

“Firstly, it was great for us to get rid of the usual pre-season rustiness and get the cobwebs out. Secondly, it was good to put into practice – in a match situation – what we’ve been working on these past six/seven weeks.

“It was a good test for both teams. We ticked a few boxes [in what we’ve been working on], but it also showed us what we still need to work on.”

When asked to pinpoint aspects of his team’s game that impressed him most, Coetzee added: “Our conditioning was good, our scrumming was good and our line-out was good in the first half until Ruan Botha went off. That disrupted us a bit.”

The Stormers boss continued: “However, a big thing for me was the resilience shown by the team – they played for the full 80 minutes and secured the win two minutes from time.

“We never kicked for goal – except for conversions – and leading up to our last try the players stuck to their guns and kept hold of the ball instead of kicking for goal.”

The only injury worry from Saturday’s encounter was lock Botha who left the field after taking a bump to the head.

“At worst, it could be concussion,” reported Coetzee, “but, otherwise, there are no other injury worries – that, in itself, is also big plus for us.

“The Bulls suffered a serious-looking injury to [loose forward] Arno Botha, that didn’t look good, so we’re thankful that we didn’t pick up any new injuries.

“Players like Rynhardt Elstadt and Michael Rhodes, who are back from injuries, got some valuable game time too and Schalk Burger played a full 80 minutes.

“Damian de Allende and Kobus van Wyk showed up well on the wing, given that we played four centres in our backline, so, overall I am pleased with how today went.”

Coetzee, meanwhile, also praised the people of Polokwane for coming out in their droves to support this fixture at the Peter Mokaba Stadium. Some 27,000 spectators packed into the stadium, with plenty of support for the visiting team.

“There was a lot of support for us, which was great,” said the Stormers boss. “I think it was a successful day in terms of bringing this fixture to Polokwane. The surface was great, the crowd was great and both teams enjoyed the day out.”

The team will travel to Port Elizabeth next Friday to take on the Kings, before they wrap up their pre-season preparations with matches against Boland in Wellington on Saturday, February 15.

The Stormers’ 2014 Super Rugby season kicks off against the Lions – in Johannesburg – on Saturday, February 22, with their first home game taking place against the Hurricanes on Friday, February 28.

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