Fleck: We aren't going to change
Cape Town - Saturday's 17-13 loss to the Bulls means that the Stormers have now gone three Super Rugby matches without a win.
The result also means that they have surrendered top spot in the Africa 1 Conference to the Bulls while, more importantly, they have slipped out of the playoff places all together.
Of course, there is still a long way to go, and the Stormers can move back into the playoff positions with a win over the Cheetahs at Newlands in the final weekend before the June international break.
The Stormers will want to solidify a home quarter-final, but that can only be achieved by finishing ahead of the Bulls in their Conference.
That hope was dealt a major blow on Saturday as the Stormers came unstuck once more, but a closer look at the match stats suggests that it was the Capetonians doing most of the playing at Loftus.
The Stormers made 357 metres to the Bulls' 163, carried the ball 120 times to the Bulls' 57 and had 63% of the possession to the Bulls' 37%.
But despite all of their ambition, the Stormers could only muster one try.
One stat that tells a revealing story is that, despite having less than half of the carries, the Bulls beat one more defender than the Stormers on the night (17-16).
Playing a quick, expansive and entertaining brand of rugby has been one of Robbie Fleck's major goals this season, and while that intent was clear to see once more on Saturday night, the end product was absent.
Fleck praised the Bulls defence and set piece after the game, saying that they had slowed down the Stormers' ball throughout the contest, but he remained true to the cause.
"We’re not going to stop what we’re doing. We’re going to be
fearless in our approach and we’re going to keep playing an attacking brand of
rugby and eventually it will come together for us," Fleck said in his post-match interview.
"There’s been glimpses
throughout the season where it has worked for us and there were stages where it
was working well for us tonight.
"At the end of the day it was too many mistakes
and too many penalties against us that cost us.
"We’re not going to stop what we’re
doing and we’re going to keep working hard and work towards a better product."
Admirable, but now that they are in dangerous territory when it comes to the playoff race, winning is surely more important than anything else for the Stormers.
"It’s a tough competition. It was a tough loss against the
Waratahs and that took the wind out of our sails a bit," Fleck reflected.
"Then we had a bye week
and then a poor performance in Singapore.
"This is a tough one to swallow but it’s
the nature of the competition and we’re going to have to show a lot of character
and get back on Monday and start all over again.
"But we’re not going to lose
faith or hope. It’s important that we win at Newlands and win well before the
With the Sharks having a bye week next weekend, victory for the Stormers over the Cheetahs will ensure that they move ahead of the Durbanites on the South African Group log and back into the playoff positions.