Cape Town – Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was happy with the further improvement shown by his team during Friday’s comprehensive 40-7 win over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.
The Stormers scored six tries to one in the Friendly City to make it two from two victories during this crucial phase of the build-up to the 2014 Super Rugby season.
However, the scoreline was not the only pleasing aspect of the Stormers’ victory.
“After last weekend’s Bulls game (won 26-19 by the Stormers) a few things stood out for us in terms of where we needed to improve,” Coetzee told the Stormers website.
“We’re still building… but the process is coming together nicely,” added Coetzee, who highlighted the breakdown, defence and taking opportunities on attack as the areas which required improvement.
Argentine lock Manuel Carizza made his first start for the Stormers – in the No 5 jersey – whilst fit-again Springbok Jaco Taute had a thirty-minute run-out in the N0 15 jersey.
“Manuel was a little bit rusty, given that he has not played 80 minutes in a while – but there were great signs from him,” said Coetzee.
“Jaco’s first outing was good. We were pleased but he was happy too and came off feeling confident about his knee and his performance. Jaco needs to play more, as does (prop) Pat Cilliers, who also had a good first run of the year.”
Lock Rynhardt Elstadt took a knock to his ribs, which is hopefully not too serious but, either way, the Stormers boss is expected to mix up his selections for next Saturday’s (February 15) final warm-up game against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington.
“We will know for sure about Rynhardt tomorrow (Monday),” said Coetzee, “but it doesn’t look too serious,” he confirmed.
“We will certainly be mixing things up a bit selection-wise for the Boland match, as we look to create opportunities for those players returning from injury and to have a look at all the other players who are in contention for a squad place.”
Another pleasing aspect for Coetzee from the weekend was how his squad put aside two last-minute disruptions – the late withdrawal of Duane Vermeulen (with an ankle niggle) and a fire at the team hotel in Humewood which saw the team evacuated and kick-off delayed by half an hour.
“Nizaam stepped up nicely in Duane’s absence – it shows the considerable depth we have at loose forward. Duane wasn’t 100% comfortable on his ankle and we didn’t feel the need to push him,” said Coetzee.
The Stormers will next take on Boland in Wellington this Saturday (kick-off 16:30), with the WP Vodacom Cup team playing the curtain-raiser at 14:00.
The 2011 and 2012 SA Conference winners will open their 2014 Super Rugby campaign against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, February 22 (kick-off 19:10).