Vodacom Super Rugby
Relief in Stormers camp
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The relief of finally winning a Super Rugby match overshadowed the grim news that the Stormers will be without their Springbok wing Bryan Habana for at least two months, after he injured his left knee at Newlands.
The Stormers' close-shave 36-34 win over the Chiefs was almost overwhelming among their ranks. Coach Allister Coetzee and captain Jean de Villiers could not hide their happiness at the post-match conference.
"We've played for a win since the start of the season and it's pleasing when you can turn things around," said Coetzee.
VIDEO: Stormers v Chiefs, highlights
"At the start of the day we had a few guys (Habana and Deon Fourie) down with gypo guts (gastrointestinal illness) and that was a concern. But there was a massive improvement in our execution."
De Villiers said he was relieved the team had halted the two-match defeat slide.
"We were relieved after this win," said De Villiers.
"It was a massive effort by the team. There was a lot of pride at stake today. The players were willing to play for each other, and for the team. The Chiefs are a great side, they're the champions and the result could easily have gone another way."
Habana went for scans after the match following a second-half injury. The seriousness of the injury may mean Habana might not be seen in a Stormers jersey again this season.
"When I say conservatively speaking, he could be playing in the seventh week, but we expect him to be out for 10 weeks," said Coetzee.
"It's his left knee this time. Last year he had a similar injury in the Currie Cup final with the right knee. When you lose a Springbok and a quality player like Bryan it's never an ideal situation, but we're getting Jaco Taute back (from injury) and Gerhard van den Heever played very well when he came on. Gio Aplon played just as well, so we have enough replacements there.
"We wish Bryan well for a speedy recovery and when he returns he'll be back in the mix, but our focus is fully on the replacements now."
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie cut a crestfallen figure when he addressed the media afterwards. He felt his team did not deserve to win.
"We lost the collisions with, and without the ball. We played a big chunk of the game without possession, whereas they had a pretty aggressive lineout and stole a bit of ours.
"We gave away penalties and we almost won the game. We tried to speed things up, we tried to go to short lineouts, but they still caused us a bit of grief and we certainly have a bit of work to do in that area as they were able to shut off our supply of ball in that area.