Jean backs Stormers coaches

    2013-05-27 16:43

    Gavin Rich - SuperSport

    Cape Town - Stormers captain Jean de Villiers gave a public endorsement to the franchise’s much maligned coaching staff after his team’s face-saving 20-15 win over the Reds in their Super Rugby match at Newlands at the weekend.

    According to the website, De Villiers was clearly quite emotional at the post-match press conference as he spoke about one of the most satisfying wins of his career.

    “To have 16 players out injured and still to be able to beat a quality Reds team says a lot about us as a franchise,” said De Villiers.

    “We have had a tough run lately and have lost a lot of close games that have put us in a bad position on the log, but this win in the circumstances that we faced showed that we do have the right coaches and those coaches have also selected the right players. The win showed what the Stormers stand for.”

    They may be out of the competition race but the Stormers did answer De Villiers’ call for them to show pride in the jersey, and why De Villiers felt it was such a noteworthy achievement was that the injury situation at the Stormers is so dire at present that players have had to be drafted in from club level to make up the numbers. There were also seven changes from the last game against the Rebels, most of them forced by injury.

    “With so many players out we had no business to be beating the Reds, and that we did was a great achievement. It will give us confidence.”

    De Villiers said the difference between this match and the previous ones where the Stormers fell short was not so much about a change in tactics, but was rooted in better execution of the basics.

    “In the previous games we couldn’t put phases together because we kept making mistakes, particularly silly handling errors. In this game we were able to put phases together and that made all the difference. There’s never been anything wrong with the attitude, just the execution, and today we showed what can be done if we get the execution right.”

    An example of the Stormers getting their execution spot-on was the cross kick from Elton Jantjies that found Bryan Habana, who then produced perfect inside pass to Joe Pietersen, who drew the defenders perfectly before putting De Villiers in for a run down the left flank that reminded fans of the days when he was on the wing for the Springboks earlier in his career.

    “Jean was outstanding Saturday, and so were Bryan Habana, Damian de Allende and some of the other players. Tiaan Liebenberg made a strong return after injury,” said coach Allister Coetzee.

    “I am proud of the team because this achievement, considering the pressure we have been under, shows what the team is about. It showed great character for us to win and character is something that cannot be coached.”

    De Villiers praised the halfbacks, Louis Schreuder and Elton Jantjies, for how they managed the game.

    “We are plaing more off 10 at the moment, but we have the ability to do both, and credit must go to Louis and Elton. Eight of the 15 starters on Saturday were under-23 and that says something great about the future of this union. From an emotional point of view it was a huge day and right up there with my other experiences in rugby.”

    The Stormers will take the day off from training on Monday before starting their preparation for their next match against the Southern Kings at Newlands (Saturday, 17:05) on Tuesday.

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