Robbie Fleck. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Robbie Fleck. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

The Stormers’ rapidly unravelling Super Rugby campaign will limp on in Melbourne with captain Siya Kolisi falling on his sword after last Friday’s 24-12 loss to the Reds.

The defeat in Brisbane was the Stormers third straight loss on tour‚ which has relegated them to fourth on the five-team SA conference.

Kolisi earned a 40th minute yellow card against the Reds for killing the ball. While he was off the field the home team scored two tries to take a 14-0 lead six minutes into the second half.

It was doubly frustrating as the Stormers had dominated the opening half and crossed the try line twice‚ only for the scores to be ruled out after video review. Damian Willemse touched down on the deadball line and Sergeal Petersen put a foot in touch in the act of scoring.

It was like watching the same horror movie on repeat‚ as the Stormers created chances and failed to execute.

Kolisi‚ who otherwise had a strong game‚ blamed himself for the loss‚ but in truth the Stormers should have been well ahead by the time his rather dubious sin-binning occurred.

“We started well and created a lot of opportunities but obviously the yellow card made a huge difference‚” Kolisi said. “That was the turning point.”

Coach Robbie Fleck lamented his side’s lack of execution yet again‚ but the reality is that the postmatch mea culpas are wearing thin. The Stormers are not getting any better.

“The final execution let us down after a good opening 20 minutes‚ like it did the previous two weeks‚” Fleck said. “It would have been nice to get a few points for our efforts — it would’ve helped.

“The yellow card was critical and credit to the Reds for capitalising on that opportunity.

“We had to play catch-up but we aren’t very proud of that effort because there were too many mistakes and missed tackles. We’ll move on from this quickly.”

The Stormers face the Rebels on Friday needing desperately to post a win on tour, even with a good run of home games to come.

“We have to manage the workload of some players but we also have to win [against the Rebels], so we have some tough decisions to make‚” Fleck added.

Meanwhile, Rebels coach Dave Wessels‚ who cut his coaching teeth as a technical analyst for the Stormers under Rassie Erasmus‚ says he is not even looking at the standings.

His side hold a seven-point lead at the top of the Australian Conference and are second on the overall log. But he is not interested in the standings less than halfway through the season.

“A seven-point lead feels good‚ but if you hadn’t of told me that I wouldn’t have known‚” Wessels said.

“One of the things I made a mistake with last year was getting all mixed up in all kinds of permutations and things we had to do.

“I realised that the only thing we can control is making sure that our performances every week get that little better, so I’ve resolved to never look at the table — it’s just a little discipline that my focus is on our team and trying to win every game that we can and to get that little bit better every week and so far I’m probably a lot happier because of that.”