Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is confident his charges will get their campaign back on track against the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers ended up on the losing side (6-12) in an absorbing and physical all-South African derby in Durban at the weekend, making it two defeats in two weeks, but Coetzee did see a big improvement from their disappointing 17-25 loss to the Bulls the week before.
Said Coetzee: “It was a dog-fight… a typical South African derby.
“You could see with the half-time score of 0-0 – no team gave an inch and there wasn’t much in it in the end.”
“We’re not happy with another defeat, but I thought there was a vast improvement [from the week before],” said the Stormers boss.
“The attitude and effort of the players was fantastic. The line-out was good and we executed our kicks [out of hand] well too. However, on the negative side we struggled at scrum-time and our unforced errors were an issue again and so, too, our discipline.
“We worked hard last week in the build-up to the Sharks game and we will work even harder this week,” added Coetzee. “You can’t fix these errors without hard work but I know the guys will respond well, as they did against the Sharks, and that gives me hope.”
The Stormers, after two weeks on the road, are relishing their first home match of the 2013 Super Rugby season, with Coetzee feeling it’s the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways.
“It’s always great playing in front of the Newlands Faithful - we can’t wait to run out in front of our home crowd again,” said Coetzee.
“We want to get things right for our fans but it certainly doesn’t get any easier in this tournament - after two tough games away from home, we’re now playing against the defending champs - albeit at home.
“The good thing is that this team has character - plenty of character - and they can bounce back,” added Coetzee. “Yes, results are important… but the guys will keep improving and I’m looking for even more [improvement] against the Chiefs this weekend.
“We had a similar start to the season back in 2008 and, yet, we were still in play-off contention by the end of the season. Nobody wants to lose, and we’re not used to losing, but it’s up to us to bounce back.”
Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe (stiff neck) was the only player to report a niggle after the Durban derby, whilst, according to Coetzee, there were a few other bumps and bruises that one would expect from a physical Super Rugby clash between two top sides.
“Those bumps and bruises are typical of such a physical fixture,” said Coetzee. “Frans had a bit of a stiff neck but we’re hoping it’s not serious.”
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