Stormers coach unimpressed despite big win
Stormers boss Robbie Fleck was dissatisfied despite his side’s 52-15 win over the Sunwolves‚ because while the result was satisfactory‚ the performance was substandard.
But he is hoping for a strong challenge against the Bulls at Loftus this week in the final Pool match of the season before a quarterfinal in a fortnight.
The Bulls have lost 10 matches this season‚ which included a 31-30 home defeat against the Southern Kings at the weekend. But Fleck believes the traditional north-south rivalry will bring out the best in the Pretoria side. "It will be a good test for us at Loftus‚ regardless of the Bulls’ results because they are a better team when they play against the Stormers and I hope we will face a good challenge‚" Fleck said. "That’s what we need‚ and what we’re looking for‚ and we certainly will be a better team next week too."
And the Stormers will need to‚ because better teams than the Sunwolves would have made the Stormers pay for their sloppiness that resulted in 35 handling errors and 29 missed tackles last Saturday.
The Stormers only won by such a comfortable margin because of some individual brilliance from the likes of Dillyn Leyds‚ Cheslin Kolbe‚ Damian Willemse and Seabelo Senatla‚ who scored seven of the eight tries among them.
As a collective they displayed little cohesion and discipline to stick to the game plan. "It was a simple game plan‚ and that was to attack them down the middle and be patient. But we didn’t do that and went wide from almost every ruck‚ we didn’t stick to the plan," captain Siya Kolisi said.
And that is worrying for Fleck. Playing carefree rugby against the Chiefs or the Hurricanes‚ two possible quarterfinal opponents‚ will end in pain.
As the British & Irish Lions showed on tour in New Zealand‚ the most effective way to compete with Kiwi teams is to function as a well-drilled unit and execute every play collectively.
Fleck did not want to use the late withdrawal of lock Eben Etzebeth and prop Frans Malherbe on the morning of the match due to flu‚ or the fact that they had qualified for the playoffs weeks ago‚ as excuses.
"Our goal for these last three pool matches‚ despite having qualified for the playoffs‚ was to do play well regardless of results‚" Fleck said.
"It’s tough‚ but the Lions are qualified and they have continued to perform. Our display against the Sunwolves wasn’t good enough in terms of performance. Our goal is to improve every week and in the first half against the Sunwolves in particular‚ we didn’t do that.
"But we also did some good things and will take that forward to next weekend at Loftus."