Fleck: The small margins have cost us

    2019-04-29 09:58

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Robbie Fleck is in the unique position of knowing that, regardless of what happens between now and the end of Super Rugby 2019, this is his final season as Stormers head coach. 

    It has already been confirmed that John Dobson will take the reins at Newlands from next season, with Fleck's role unclear at this stage. 

    Theoretically, Fleck and the Stormers should be playing with a freedom that comes from knowing that change is imminent. 

    There have been glimpses of that so far this year, but inconsistencies in both performances and results have been frustrating.

    On Saturday, the Stormers were as close to their best as they have been all year with a 24-23 triumph over the Bulls at Newlands that flattered the visitors on the scoreboard. 

    The Stormers were impressive up front where they dealt with the Bulls' dangerous loose forward threat, while there was a lot to be excited about in the backline where Damian de Allende, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies and, most noticeably, Dillyn Leyds were on top of their game. 

    With the South African conference incredibly congested and with just four points separating the Sharks in 1st and the Lions in Lions in 5th, the Stormers (4th) are very much in the race. 

    Up next is a trip to the Argentina to take on the Jaguares, and Fleck will be hoping that the bounce of the ball and the rub of the green goes his side's way. 

    That hasn't always been the case this season. 

    "Those small little margins ... It's just a couple of inches here and there, and we could be talking a very different story about where we are on the log," Fleck said.

    Captain Siya Kolisi agreed. 

    "It's tough to come here on a Monday and you don't know what to say, because we haven't played badly but we just haven't gotten as many points as the other team. Today we knew we had to turn up from the beginning."

    A home loss against the Brumbies two weekends ago was one of those days where Fleck believed the Stormers had been the better side on the day without getting the reward. 

    Saturday's result, Fleck hopes, will the catalyst for a strong push to the end of the group stages of the competition. 

    "Hopefully this will be another step in the right direction ... we don't want to take another step forward and then two more back," he said. 

    "It was a funny feeling in the changeroom afterwards. The boys were happy with the win but they were a bit quiet and there was a feeling that there was a lot more in there, which is quite exciting.

    "It was a really good performance ... we were the dominant team."

    Fleck was pleased with the performance of under-fire flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis, while he also had special praise for his forwards.

    "Those were the two areas where we dominated. We out-kicked them and we were smart with our kicks, and I think we were more dominant at the breakdown," he said.

    "We took guys like Marco van Staden and Duane (Vermeulen) and all of their poachers out of the game. I thought our attacking breakdown was excellent."

    On the moments after the hooter had sounded where the Stormers opted to run the ball out from behind their own goal line only to lose possession and concede a try that gifted the Bulls a bonus point, Fleck was reluctant to be too harsh. 

    "I don't mind a bit of ambition and bravery, as long as it works out in our favour," he said.

    "It's happened ... we're not going to dwell on it too much. We'll chat to the players ... maybe just a bit of inexperience."

    The Stormers will name their squad for the trip to Argentina on Monday. 

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