Lesson learned by sorry Stormers

Allister Coetzee says the Stormers’ shocking display shouldn’t be viewed as the beginning of a downward spiral.

The Stormers would have made history had they buried the Brumbies on Saturday. Since the inception of Super Rugby, the Cape side has failed to win their first three games. The opportunity was there given the poor performance by the Brumbies, but unfortunately the hosts couldn’t put them away.

The Stormers coach was understandably glum following the loss, and while he listed the positives, he admitted his team were poor on the day.

He refused to blame Joe Pietersen, who missed the last-ditch conversion that would have drawn the game, or Brok Harris, who threw an intercept pass. He rather blamed the team as a whole.

‘We were erratic with ball in hand and our execution wasn’t good at all,’ Coetzee told keo.co.za. ‘We made two mistakes late in the game [a penalty that led to a goal by Giteau and the intercept pass by Harris], and our systems were at fault. We didn’t stick to our systems tonight.’

The Stormers coughed up possession regularly and attempted to run the ball from their own half on several occasions. Coetzee said the players need to take responsibility, but believes much can be learned from the loss.

‘It’s by no means a setback. It hurts to lose at home, but we showed a lot of character to fight back at the death and score that try. For most of the game we didn’t respect our own ball, and it’s just a pity that we only started playing properly late in the game.’

Stormers captain Andries Bekker said the performance was ‘not good enough’ and also cited the Cape side’s inability to to click early on as a contributing factor to defeat. Bekker admitted the Stormers would have plenty to do at lineout time after their errant display on Saturday.

The Stormers will host the Highlanders at Newlands next Saturday. ‘We are only three matches into the tournament,’ said Coetzee. ‘There’s an incredible spirit in this side and there’s no need to panic after one loss.’

By Jon Cardinelli