The Stormers came through their first preseason match without any injuries and on the right side of the scoreboard with a 43-7 win over the Cheetahs in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Saturday.
Stormers attack and skills coach Paul Feeney had stressed on the eve of a warm-up match that saw up to 10 replacements being used, that the score was irrelevant. It was simply about implementing aspects of the game they have spent the past two months working on.
From that perspective, coach Robbie Fleck saw the outing positively as the Stormers scored seven tries. "It is a good start for us‚ all the goals we set ourselves for this weekend were achieved‚" Fleck said.
"We saw a few glimpses of the hard work we did in the pre-season‚ but we are certainly not there yet and we have still got a long way to go.
"We scored some decent tries from turnover ball and it is always nice when you see some results from what you have been working on.
"As management, there were a few things that excited us‚ but there are definitely aspects that we still need to work on.
"There are still four weeks until our opening game against the Bulls and there is still a lot of work to do," Fleck said.
The Stormers fielded what could be described as their best starting XV, while the Cheetahs team was a mixture of new and old — basing the teams’ respective progress on the result alone would be misleading.
But the Cape side were clinical and looked fit and sharp‚ which are all positive signs so early in the year.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith would have been given some details to ponder.
Fleck added that his team had built on the foundations they had laid with a change in approach last year‚ but there was still a lot to work on.
"It was really encouraging to see that what we started working on last year came through strongly as well‚" Fleck said.
"It was always going to take time for that change in approach to take hold, so it is great that we are seeing the fruits of that now.
"It is now back to the drawing board. We will review the game and look at what needs to be worked on and see where we are at," he said.
"It is now an opportunity for us to give some feedback to the players and knuckle down and get back to work.
"Everyone had a fair bit of game time and we came away with no injuries, so we are very happy that everyone had an opportunity."