Jean: Players must step up

Stormers captain Jean de Villiers believes his charges should take responsibility for what was an awful display against the Blues.

The Stormers lost 14-8 to the Auckland franchise on Saturday, but may have won comfortably had they taken their opportunities. Shocking handling and poor decision-making led to numerous butcherings, and De Villiers said the Stormers’ structures cannot be blamed.

“We as players have to take responsibility,” he remarked, after coach Rassie Erasmus refused to publicly slate his team. ” “We have some great coaches here at the Stormers, but at the end of the day it’s us who have to catch and pass the ball.

“We created enough opportunities, but we let ourselves down with our handling. I think every player in the team lost or knocked the ball on at least once. You can’t win games like that. There are a lot of Springboks in this team and it’s time we stood up and started performing.”

De Villiers believes it was purely the basics that cost the Stormers rather than a lack of composure.

“It was a brutal physical clash very close to Test rugby,” he said. “I don’t think we wilted under the pressure. The only pressure experienced is the pressure we place on ourselves.

“We have to look at the positives. It doesn’t get any tougher than the Bulls at Loftus next week, so we have to move on. We owe it to our fans to win this one away from home and then give them a good showing against the Lions before we go on tour.”

Erasmus said that although the Stormers head to Pretoria having lost two from three, this is no time to panic.

“It was disappointing today, and we all have to take responsibility. We have a lot to work on.

“The players believe in what we are trying to do, and if I thought they didn’t, then I’d resign on Monday. I don’t like to say we need a bit of luck, but at the moment we are missing that little something that will get us on the front foot. It will come together.”

Erasmus confirmed JD Moller (shoulder) and Brian Mujati (shoulder and leg) are injury concerns, and the extent of their ailments will be known on Monday.

By Jon Cardinelli