Loss no big deal for Stormers
Cape Town - The Stormers, already assured
of a home Super Rugby qualifier match at Newlands, finished their 2015 league
campaign with a loss to the Sharks in Durban but it did not deter coach
The Stormers went down 34-12 to the Sharks at
Kings Park, coach Coetzee having made a massive 14 changes to his line-up from
the week before.
It was a tactic employed by Coetzee during Western
Province’s victorious 2014 Currie Cup campaign - ironically also against the
Sharks - and he was once again happy with his decision.
“This is part of the building phase and
we’re looking forward to next week (in our Super Rugby qualifier) against the
Brumbies - it’s the important game,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official
“We never go out there to lose and we’re
not happy at all with our performance, having arrived here in a positive frame
of mind, but our error rate was too high - we made some crucial mistakes and
our cohesion wasn’t there.
“We tested a similar thing by resting our
guys in the Currie Cup last year, and it worked for us, but it was important to
give some guys a break, both physically and mentally.
“I don’t think this defeat will affect our
momentum at all, in fact I think the players will come back refreshed,” he
“We’ve met all our objectives thus far, by
resting our Springboks as per the agreement with SA Rugby, and by getting that
home qualifying (playoff) match.”
Captain on the night, No 8 Nizaam Carr,
added: “We were a bit too over-eager at times, but I guess that was
understandable given the (new) players wanted to prove themselves.
“Our error-rate was high, like the coach
said, so that was disappointing.”
Coetzee, meanwhile, praised hooker Michael
Willemse’s performance (in his first start at this level), whilst he also
pointed to flyhalf Kurt Coleman’s flawless goalkicking record on the night.
“If I had the choice to do it over, I
would’ve stuck to my plan as the result of this match would have had no
influence whatsoever on the final standings,” said Coetzee. “I really don’t
think we played (that) badly, but we didn’t respect the ball enough and that’s
why we conceded a few tries.
“Mikey (Willemse) showed again tonight that
he can play at this level. He scrummed well and his lineout play was
commendable, but his physicality impressed me the most.
“It was great to see Kurt make his kicks
and build up his confidence (again) in the process. Ruan Botha played 80
minutes after seven weeks out, Mike Rhodes got through almost 70 minutes after
a few weeks out himself, we gave debuts to Rob du Preez, Jan de Klerk and
Godlen Masimla and Mikey (Willemse) and (Sikhumbuzo) Notshe started their first
games at this level.
“There were a lot of positives from this
match and we can now turn our attention to next Saturday’s qualifier against