Stormers pay for high error count
Stormers pay for high error countSHARE
Coach Allister Coetzee was left lamenting a high error-rate, despite his side having outscored the Blues by two tries to nil in Albany.
The Blues held on for a dramatic 18-17 win over the Stormers in a bruising encounter at the North Harbour Stadium on Friday.
Coetzee, speaking from the Stormers' team hotel in Auckland, admitted it was a bitter pill to swallow.
"It was a tough and it's a tough one to swallow," he said.
"However, despite our high error-rate, the game could've gone either way [again].
"If we had played [in the first half] like we finished the game, it could've been a different story.
"We made too many mistakes in the first half and we didn't take our opportunities."
The coach delivered a stern message to his players at half-time, saying of the 3-9 scoreline at the break: "We were still right in the game [then], but needed to hold onto the ball and stop conceding unnecessary penalties. Our discipline cost us once again – it put them right on top of us and gave them kicks at goal.
"In the last twenty minutes we pulled things back with two good tries. I just feel if we had taken our one penalty kick maybe, and Jean was the first to admit afterwards that we should've gone for poles, it could perhaps have been different – but that's how close it was in the end. That said, however, the drive is normally a strength for us – it just didn't work for us tonight.
"The players are really disappointed, they did most of the playing and they were really more physical and got on top of the Blues. But, then again, you cannot make so many mistakes and expect to win a match."
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth replaced De Kock Steenkamp after half-time – an injury-enforced switch – and his performance was a big boost in the match for the tourists.
"Eben was a big positive for us – he did well and it was great to see," said the Stormers boss. "He did well in the physical exchanges, so he will definitely add value for us moving forward on the tour."
And on Steenkamp's injury, Coetzee revealed: "De Kock took a big knock to his chest area, we suspect that it could be a sternum injury. He will go for a scan and we will await those results."
Blues captain Ali Williams praised the way his team bounced back from a narrow loss to the Queensland Reds last week.
"We're growing, there's something exciting here," he said.
"We're working for each other, that's the key thing and we're having some fun.
"[But] that's a tough Stormers outfit, I'm sore."