'Flat' Stormers aim for good tour

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 10:41

REACTION: The Stormers are looking to pick up the pieces as they head out on a three-match New Zealand tour on Sunday.

An obviously disappointed Stormers coach Robbie Fleck admitted the 16-29 loss to the Lions - which was the Lions' first-ever Super Rugby win at Newlands and brought the Stormers' victory run to an end - is not ideal ahead of a tough tour.

The Stormers, who depart for New Zealand on Sunday, will face the Crusaders (in Christchurch next Saturday), the Highlanders (Dunedin) and Hurricanes (Wellington) on the subsequent Fridays.

It is the harsh lessons learnt from the loss against the Lions that will stand them in good stead.

He admitted they were "outplayed" by the Lions at Newlands.

"We were a little bit flat, especially in terms of the tempo and intensity that we played with [against the Chiefs] last week," Fleck said.

He said the past week's preparations were "a bit disrupted".

"We struggled to get going with our training on Monday and Tuesday," the Stormers mentor said, adding: "We had a good training session on Tuesday."

He felt the team had an opportunity during the early stages of the second half first - after trailing 13-22 at the break - to regain control of the match.

However, the Lions - through some magnificent defence - held the Stormers out and took control in the final quarter.

"We should have scored, but credit to the Lions - their defence was outstanding," Fleck said.

"If we had scored there, then maybe we would have kicked on a bit."

Captain Siya Kolisi dismissed the notion that they erred during that crucial period early in the second half by constantly going for line-outs, instead of taking penalties.

"We felt that if we got a try, it would shift the momentum," Kolisi said.

"We felt we had a lot of energy, but they defended very well.

"Yes, we could have gone for the three points, but we all wanted to go for a try to change the momentum.

"The Lions played very well and shut down everything we attempted."

Fleck said his team needs to take the loss on the chin and look forward to a good tour.

"Last year the Lions were able to back up those kind of performances week in and week out.

"That was our challenge this week, to back up last week's performance and we didn't.

"We have to work hard and come back," Fleck said, adding: "It is not ideal to lose before you go on tour.

"Now we have to look forward to a tour in New Zealand that is not going to be easy," he said of a trip that starts against the unbeaten Crusaders.

"This is the toughest competition around, if you take into consideration the travel and who the opposition is.

"We are looking forward to playing against an unbeaten team - we have never won in Christchurch.

"It is a new challenge for us."

By Jan de Koning at Newlands
@king365ed
@rugby365com

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