Rassie Erasmus believes the bye played a significant role in the Stormers’ ‘awful’ attacking display at AMI Stadium.
The Stormers failed to dominate a single facet in their 11-7 defeat to the Crusaders in Christchurch. Their handling was poor and their in-field kicking was aimless – a shortcoming exacerbated by a poor kick chase.
Captain Jean de Villiers bemoaned the failure to dominate territory, but more telling was the Stormers’ inability to pressure and breach the Saders’ defence. Erasmus told keo.co.za it was the most disappointing part of Saturday’s loss.
‘The big positive was our defence. We only conceded one try which is pleasing. Having said that, our tactical kicking as awful and our attack was awful.
‘Looking on from the side I thought we seemed a bit leaden-footed. As a group, we were lacklustre. The low scoreline was expected with the two best defensive teams in the tournament squaring up, and I think the bye did have an adverse effect.’
The Stormers smashed the Lions two weeks ago, a win that seemed to have lent them some much needed synergy and momentum. In Christchurch, the Stormers were rudderless with poor execution and poor option-taking affecting their finishing.
They also battled to gel up front and establish good attacking platforms. Erasmus was unwilling to concede the scrums were a complete disaster and felt referee Keith Brown may have got it wrong in nailing Wicus Blaauw.
‘I don’t know the referee that well, but I’ve never seen a loosehead penalised so much. We’ll have to look at the video, but it was surprising to see so many problems on the loosehead side.
‘The lineouts were pretty even with our guys stealing as much of their ball as they did of ours. We did well considering some of the media thought we’d struggle without Andries Bekker,’ he said.
‘The management and the team will take responsibility, and we have to look to ourselves to turn things around.’
Brian Mujati (neck) and Duane Vermeulen (knee) suffered injuries but Erasmus expects both to be fit for the Waratahs clash next week.
By Jon Cardinelli