Allister Coetzee says he is happy with the Stormers’ position in the Super 14 ahead of their tour Down Under.
The Stormers 21-8 win over the Cheetahs on Saturday sees their current season record read five wins out of six games. They are now one point behind defending champions the Bulls, who have 24 points with a game in hand.
Head coach Coetzee lauded his team’s performance, especially since they had to adapt to the last-minute withdrawal of pivot Peter Grant, who sustained an injury in the warm-up.
‘If you had to offer me five out of six at the beginning of the season, I would’ve taken it,’ Coetzee told keo.co.za. ‘The win over the Cheetahs was very important for us as we tour in tour in two weeks time.
‘But what really impressed me was the guys’ character. I thought the injury blow of Bash [Peter Grant] would disrupt things against a physical side like the Cheetahs. But the team showed character by sticking to the game plan and we went on to win a tough game. Willem de Waal impressed me and proved to be a worthy replacement.’
Coetzee added that the Stormers did well to triumph over a challenging Cheetahs team.
‘The game could’ve been much tighter. [Cheetahs flyhalf] Naas Olivier missed goal attempts at crucial stages in the match,’ said Coetzee. ‘The Cheetahs tried to expose us with a kick-chase game plan, but we managed to counter this by covering the spaces at the back. We then hit back with a balanced approach, by running or kicking depending on the situation. We forced them to deviate from this game plan and we capitalised.
‘There were several opportunities that we should’ve finished off but we are continuing to improve and we will strive to get better after every game.’
The Stormers are on a bye next week and then jet down to Perth to face the Force in a fortnight. Joe Pietersen (hip), Grant (quad) and Juan de Jongh (elbow) are expected to recover from their respective injuries during the next two weeks, so the Stormers should have the advantage of a full-strength touring squad.
‘A lot of teams are suffering from injuries and we are in a lucky position to have everybody fit. Conrad Jantjies might even be included in the tour squad,’ said Coetzee. ‘We will allow the guys to rest their batteries this week. They will have the day off on Monday, Thursday and Friday while we will start focusing on the Force on Tuesday and Wednesday.
‘We will not underestimate the Force, no matter what position they’re in. We will train just as hard as we did for the Hurricanes and Cheetahs.’
By Gareth Duncan