Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says his team met the objectives that had been set for the pre-season friendly against Boland on Saturday.
Using their final warm-up match to sharpen their attacking skills, Coetzee’s team ran in nine tries and kept Boland scoreless in a 57-0 blow out.
Coetzee said one of the key objectives of the match was to give players more game time and felt that was achieved.
“It was good to see Andries Bekker go through his 60 minutes in a positive note, Siya Kolisi 80 minutes, Jean de Villiers 80 minutes, Joe Pietersen 40 minutes and Nic Groom 40 minutes,” Coetzee said.
“That’s what you want from these games, to make sure the guys get game time and their sharpness back. There are still some rust but I’m pleased, it’s a big improvement on last week.”
Coetzee said there were plenty of positives to take out of the game both on attack and defence.
“I’m happy with our workrate, getting into position on attack and with the depth and width we played with. I’m happy that we stuck to the width we played with, especially the backs, the tries they scored running onto the ball and running straight.
“On defence, to keep a side scoreless showed that the attitude was right. Physicality is the first thing asked of a team in Super Rugby and that was there,” he said.
Coetzee felt the set-pieces were a mixed bag with the scrum functioning well but the line-outs remaining an area of concern.
“I’m happy with the scrums. We scrummed really well and rotated all four props. I think we got penalised once and conceded a free kick for early engagement. Brokkie [Brok Harris] dropping it on the loosehead who’s a tighthead, so that’s part of his learning process.
“I’m displeased with the line-outs again. Although it’s still early in the year, I’m not happy with the unforced errors in the line-outs,” the Stormers coach said.
Coetzee added that he is “still in the dark” regarding his first-choice scrumhalf but said he would take a horses-for-courses approach for the Super Rugby season opener against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on February 22.
“I’m in a deeper hole now,” Coetzee said. “It was good to see Dewaldt [Duvenage], who’s been out for a long time, and Nic [Groom] return from injuries and putting some decent performances together and Louis [Schreuder] at ten, he has some good touches when he plays at ten.
“It’s tough for those three but we’ll have a look at the Bulls and see what they offer and we’ll select according to what’s necessary on the day,” he said.
Coetzee said he is content with the decision to play only two warm-up matches this year.
“You would always want to play more games but you don’t want more injuries so there isn’t a perfect formula. My target was to give the players a minimum of 80 to 100 minutes of game time to be ready for 80 minutes against the Bulls and I’ve achieved that with most of the team bar a player like Elton [Jantjies], who will play in our chukkas during the coming week.”
Coetzee also had praise for Boland, whom he said gave his charges a tougher test than the scoreline suggests.
“Boland definitely played their part in the friendly. We had to work hard for our tries and they were quite physical too so I have to commend them and give them credit for putting up a fight like that. They showed a lot of maturity and I’m sure that will help them,” Coetzee said.