Coetzee: Rest was important
Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says the decision to rest his first-choice players in Saturday’s 34-12 loss to the Sharks was the right one.
The Stormers went down in Durban in a match that meant nothing in terms of conference or overall standings, and they will now turn their attention to this Saturday where a play-off against the Brumbies at Newlands awaits.
There was plenty of spirit from the visitors, and for large portions of the first half it appeared that an upset against a Springbok-inspired Sharks side was on the cards.
But it was not to be.
Coetzee said after the match that he had backed his side despite their inexperience, but that he also couldn’t expect too much from them.
"I’ve got to understand that a team that has been put together in a week does not have any proper synergy at this level yet," said the coach.
"But there were positives. I would have stuck to my plan if I had the chance to do it again. The result of this match had no influence whatsoever.
"We were really playing well and then we didn’t show a lot of respect for the ball and conceded a couple of tries from there. There was no lack of effort, but the unforced errors and fundamentals let them down. There were perfect conditions out there to play good rugger."
Speaking of his decision to rotate, Coetzee said the breaks for the likes of Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds and Cheslin Kolbe would have been welcomed.
"It was massively important (the players resting). It’s not something I am trying to be clever with...it is something we have tested in the Currie Cup," said Coetzee.
"It’s a shorter completion (Currie Cup) but it’s continuous. There are no breaks so you have to create your own break to get the players more energetic.
"This is a much needed break and I don’t think it will have any influence on our continuity and momentum. I think this is a great opportunity to re-focus and come out better."
The availability of captain Duane Vermeulen, meanwhile, was still up in the air as he continues to recover from a bulging disc in his neck. Coetzee confirmed that he would have more clarity on Monday.
Kick-off against the Brumbies is at 17:05 on Saturday.