Stormers tour has become a lot tougher
The Stormers’ Australasian tour has become a lot tougher after they threw away victory against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and now face a daunting two weeks in New Zealand.
The Waratahs poached a 34-27 win thanks to an injury time try from flank Ned Hanigan that gave the home team a victory they will cherish in a match that was always on a knife’s edge.
Robbie Fleck’s Stormers though are understandably and rightly blaming themselves for the loss.
Ill-discipline and poor execution cost them‚ and has left the team in a tight spot with matches against the Crusaders and Highlanders to come.
The Stormers have only won two of nine away games against the Highlanders – the last in 2012 – while they have lost all 10 away clashes against the Crusaders‚ including last season’s 57-24 drubbing.
Two crucial lost lineouts‚ as well as failing to take advantage when the Waratahs were down to 14 men in the fourth quarter‚ were the obvious reasons for the Stormers’ defeat at the weekend.
One of those lineouts‚ when replacement hooker Dean Muir failed to connect with his jumpers resulting in a turnover‚ led directly to Hanigan’s match-winning try.
"It is tough to lose in the last second‚ but the Waratahs had opportunities to score earlier on and so did we‚" Fleck said.
"It looked like no one really wanted to win it at some stage‚ but I guess we only got ourselves to blame.
"We had two lineouts and a scrum to get out of that position and put them back under pressure. They got the turnovers and they put that pressure on us.
"Our lineout didn't probably work as it should‚ so that is something we will have to work on. I guess our exits weren't as good as either‚ so we had plenty of opportunities to get out of our half and put them back under the pump.
"We are disappointed‚ but there were a lot of positives in the game.
"Obviously‚ our scrum was good and our breakdown was good and I thought our line speed on defence was excellent and we put them under pressure‚ so we were turning them over a few times.
"When they were down to 14 men we had a few opportunities to really capitalise and get the lead and we just dropped short once or twice. That is rugby and that is how it goes. We will have to lift our heads and carry on."
Captain Siya Kolisi was also critical of his team’s performance.
"We've only got ourselves to blame. Throughout we kept on making mistakes and putting them in the game‚" said Kolisi.
"The important thing is to exit well - we can't play in our own half. That is where we let ourselves down‚ but it is all stuff that we can fix as players.
"It is stuff that shouldn't go wrong on the field‚ so we take full responsibility because we had a simple and great plan and we didn't execute it as we should have today."