Stormers stick to game plan despite run of losses
Despite the team leaking 155 points and 24 tries on their slog through New Zealand‚ coach Robbie Fleck is adamant it’s business as usual
It is unclear whether the Stormers are on to something or just in denial about their recent form‚ but coach Robbie Fleck and senior player Nizaam Carr feel they are closer to New Zealand teams than recent results indicate.
The Stormers lost 57-24 to the Crusaders‚ 57-14 to the Highlanders and 41-22 to the Hurricanes in consecutive weeks on their recent tour.
That was after they lost 29-16 at home against the Lions. And they now face the Blues at Newlands on Friday.
Despite the team leaking 155 points and 24 tries on their slog through New Zealand‚ Fleck is adamant that they are not as far off as the scoreboard indicates. Carr is of a similar mind.
"In the past four weeks we played against the top four teams in the tournament and three of those matches were away‚ which puts things into some perspective‚" Fleck said.
"It was a tough tour‚ but our biggest disappointment was our loss to the Lions at home. But we are the only team to beat a New Zealand team this year [the Stormers beat the Chiefs 34-26 in round six].
"On tour we turned over possession 15 times inside the opposition’s 22m area and of those‚ six long-distance tries were scored against us. Those are 14-point swings in a game and they were at critical times.
"So there is a mental issue perhaps and we lack concentration at critical times. We had 13 new guys on tour and playing in New Zealand for the first time‚ but as long as we learn from it then we will grow.
"I and the other coaches haven’t lost confidence and we aren’t going to veer off the path we have chosen to go down. We have to take the things we learnt on the tour and come back as a better team both technically and tactically.
"Those losses did affect the morale at times‚ but we also played some very good rugby and were in dominant positions at some stages."
Carr was equally optimistic about the three thrashings.
"We didn’t do too well on tour but at times we did put them under pressure‚" Carr said.
"We had a chat to some of the Hurricanes players after the game and they said to us that they didn’t know what plans to use against us … their plans weren’t working. We’re on the right track."
It is an interesting statement considering the Hurricanes scored seven tries. It would be frightening to see the Hurricanes in action when their plans are working.