Coetzee rallies his troops
Cape Town – “How will the Stormers react to this? That is the big question.”
With those words Stormers coach Allister Coetzee already started the task of motivating his side for their next challenge following their first Super Rugby defeat this year against the Reds at Newlands.
Prior to the weekend’s 6-19 loss, the Stormers were last defeated on their home ground on 26 February 2010. That is when the Brumbies beat them 19-17. The Stormers beat the Highlanders 33-0 the following weekend and then had an unbeaten home run stretching for more than a year.
Coetzee is now demanding a similar response from his side when they play the Lions at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
“We managed our first bonus-point victory after our defeat to the Brumbies last year. That is how I’d like the team to react. We’ll examine what went wrong, discuss it openly and then use the opportunity to put it right,” said Coetzee.
Even if the Lions appear to be a poor side, they are always motivated against Cape teams and it’s still fresh in the memory how they beat Western Province in a Currie Cup match in Johannesburg in 2009.
The danger for the Stormers going into this kind of game is that the opponents may view it in cup final terms.
That is why the goal will first and foremost be a victory, and we probably won’t hear the Stormers talking about bonus points this week.
There are more than enough things that the Stormers can work on this week.
“The Reds got us out of our comfort zone on defence. They managed to create time and space for Quade Cooper. His passing was excellent and there was more tactical kicking from them than usual,” said Coetzee.
“All credit to the Reds. They defended very well and we knew beforehand that they had a higher tackle completion rate than any other side.
“We were never able to keep the ball for more than six phases and that is unusual for this team. We have to learn the lessons and apply them. The Lions also gave us headaches with their rush defence a few years ago. This defeat was a wake-up call.”
One should nevertheless expect the Stormers to beat the Lions. After that they have a bye before they play the Sharks and Crusaders at Newlands on successive weekends. Then the Capetonians go on tour.
Discipline is bound to be emphasised this week after Duane Vermeulen and Deon Fourie got yellow cards against the Reds.
“The big thing about yellow cards is that the other players have to work harder and it ultimately has a significant effect. It’s a major thing to be reduced to 14 players for 20 minutes of the game,” said Coetzee.
He emphasised that the entire team should actually take responsibility for the yellow cards. Fourie, however, should reflect on his actions as it derailed the Stormers when they were just 6-9 down.
Coetzee may well have Jean de Villiers back this week after he missed the weekend’s match with a groin injury. The coach will then again have to make a difficult call about his centre combination.