Stormers coaches must front failure

Blaming referees for a failure to reach the play-offs will only lead to more Stormers disappointment in 2014.

The Stormers are a top four side. At worst a top six side. That they failed to make the play-offs is inexcusable.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has blamed refereeing decisions in two of the team’s overseas matches as the primary reason the Stormers did not make the play-offs. If he thinks it is that simple, then a side that should be challenging for a home semi-final every season, will again be talking about referees this time next year.

The coaches got it wrong for the greater part of the season, just like they got it wrong for a large part of the Currie Cup campaign a year ago.

Western Province were a match away from not making the play-offs and then they were a lineout maul away from being bundled out of the Currie Cup semi-final.

The outstanding display in the final against the Sharks meant very little that came before that seemed to matter, and it caught up with the Stormers in their 2013 campaign.

It is true they were on the receiving end of some indifferent refereeing decisions, but then they were also the beneficiaries of some dodgy refereeing decisions. Over the course of 16 matches the scales of good and bad were balanced.

The Stormers failure to embrace a more attacking approach was at the heart of their failure to make the play-offs and a failure to also dominate teams consistently in the collisions was also very relevant.

When the Stormers forwards fronted and were unrelenting for 80 minutes the Stormers won. Yet even then was it seldom with a four-try bonus point.

The wins against the Brumbies, Sharks, Cheetahs and Bulls were among the more emphatic and showed the potential of the team, but to have a presence in the top two or at least the top four a team needs 10 of these type of wins … not just four.

The Stormers coaches should look inward to fix the problem and not blame referees.

It is also discouraging to read how the Stormers coaches want to appeal a tournament draw because it is deemed a tour from hell in 2014.

The Crusaders in 2011 played every game away from home because their stadium had been damaged in the Christchurch earthquake. The players and coaches simply got on with it and they were narrowly beaten in the final in Brisbane, a week after thumping the Stormers in Cape Town.

Great teams get on with it and win more than they lose.

The Stormers, at times a good team, have never threatened to be a great Super Rugby team.

And as long as their coach blames referees and talks of appealing the fixture list they will always be more good than great.