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Blinkers off for Stormers

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:43
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We did some stock-taking
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Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that after their bye his team has more 'clarity' on what they need to do to turn things around this season.

The Cape side find themselves rooted to the bottom of the standings with just one win from their seven games ahead of their clash with the Lions at Newlands this weekend.

Coetzee was frustrated after their defeat to the Waratahs before their bye, noting that a lack of confidence had seen some players make some strange decisions under pressure.

The break gave the Stormers coach a chance to reflect on how they can improve, and he believes that it is vital to ensure that all the players are singing off the same songsheet and understand the gameplan.

"This week we did some stock-taking and the big thing was clarity. What to do, when and where for everyone, the young players included.

"That has been the difference this week, we have more clarity on how we want to play, roles and responsibilities and the players know what they are responsible for doing in certain situations," he explained.

One of the things that Coetzee has tried to encourage this season is attacking off turnover ball, and he would like to see his side test the Lions' defence from broken play on Saturday.

"After we have reviewed and had a look at our game we saw that we did not use our turnover possession effectively and we would like to have a go instead of just giving it away.

"In this competition it [turnovers] is the one source that you can really score points from. Because defence is so solid you will at some stage cause a turnover and if you have guys that are good on the ground we give ourselves a chance.

"Players like Deon Fourie and Duane Vermeulen can turn ball over for us so it is important that we are effective when they do.

"We will see where in the game we can get hold of turnover possession and run against unstructured defence. That is the plan, that we make the right decisions, have a go and give ourselves a chance," he said.

Captain Jean de Villiers said that given the position the Stormers find themselves in they cannot afford to look past their next game and need to do whatever it takes to beat the Lions on Saturday.

"All we need to do is make sure we get our structures right, we need to get our game right, evolve as a team and we need a win. So whatever we need to do to get there we need to do that.

"As a team we have decided the route that we want to go and it is about sticking to that and getting those structures in place.

"Yes, mathematically we can [qualify for the play-offs], but that is not the focus. We are not saying that we are out of it but we are more focusing on what we have been doing well and getting that right, but we also need to focus on what we have been doing wrong and getting those processes right.

"Hopefully by doing that we can get a positive result for ourselves and build a bit of momentum. Looking at the end result now is not our focus, we find ourselves 15th on the log and we need to improve that," he said.

De Villiers said that the Lions must be given credit for the way they have played on their return to Super Rugby this year, including a thumping of the Stormers at Ellis Park at the start of the season.

"I think the Lions have shown this season that they can play winning rugby, so we have done our analysis and we know where their strengths are and we know what happened in Week Two of this competition.

"We need to play good rugby to beat this Lions team, the week off I think was good for us and we came back with new energy so I think it makes for a good game on Saturday.

"You have got to give credit to the Lions for what they have achieved, you have got to give credit to them for the way they played against us at Ellis Park.

"In saying that we believe that we can improve a helluva lot as a team and that is our focus - to get that improvement going," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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