Stormers left licking their wounds
Stormers left licking their woundsSHARE
The Stormers' season ended with a whimper at Newlands on Saturday, leaving coach Allister Coetzee to consider what might have been.
The Cape side made a horror start to the year, with injuries and an early trip overseas making things even more difficult for them.
However, they did manage to find some encouragement in the second half of the season which saw them play a more positive brand of rugby and build some momentum to pull themselves up to 11th place from the bottom of the standings.
Coetzee acknolwedged that the end result was nowhere near where they should be aiming, and pointed to the injury list as the biggest obstacle to them challenging for a play-off place this year.
"I wish I could have had a say in the amount of injuries we had, but unfortunately that was out of my control.
"Every season you learn a few things and it is just tough not to be in the play-offs. For us as the Stormers it is not good enough," he said.
The Stormers coach did his best to take some positives from the season which saw the team fight back well from a doomed position and reveal some promising talent for the future.
"The injuries forced my hand to select young players who came through nicely and stuck there hands up to grow the depth in the province as well.
"The fact that we turned things around shows the character of the side, it shows the leadership that is here. If I look back I look at that Crusaders game which could have turned our season around if we had won that one," he said.
Coetzee cut a frustrated figure as he explained that he has monitored the workload of his players carefully, only for them to get cut down by injury regardless.
"For any coach you have got to look at the volume that you expose your players to, and try and curb that because volume is definitely one of the big things that leads to injuries.
"I have done my best to rest and manage players like Duane Vermeulen and Jean de Villiers. it is not just about how much they play but also during the week mamanging the players properly," he said.
He responded to questions about a possible rotation oplicy by pointing out that consistency in selection was key for the table-topping Waratahs this season.
"Once you build momentum in a competition, you play your best players. It is proven that if you play with the same players 75% of the time you will get the right result.
"Look at the Waratahs and see how many times they have rotated this year, they are log-leaders and they have played with a similar side throughout the competition," he said.
Despite their disappointing final position the Stormers can certainly take heart from the more balanced game they played in the second half of the season, although that will be little solace right now as they prepare to watch the play-offs on television.
By Michael de Vries