Rumours of the Stormers’ demise are greatly exaggerated

22 April 2018 - 16:18 By Liam Del Carme In Durban
The Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck chats to his players during a training session at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town on 15 March 2018.
The Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck chats to his players during a training session at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town on 15 March 2018.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Rumours of the Stormers’ demise in this season’s Super Rugby are greatly exaggerated‚ insists their coach Robbie Fleck.

The Stormers are effectively out of the race for Super Rugby honours but Fleck believes his team’s flagging fortunes can be turned around.

He is hoping the home comforts of Newlands‚ where they are yet to lose this season‚ will help them launch a rearguard action and play their way into the play-offs.

Crucially however‚ they are yet to win on the road and their latest defeat at the hands of the Sharks has all but condemned their season.

“Playing at Newlands is a different kettle of fish‚” Fleck reminded.

“We always enjoy good support (there). We are a different team when we play at home. It is clear that if you want to get anywhere in this competition you have to win your away games. We haven’t done that this year yet.

“We’ve got two more away but we have five at home‚” he said about the two away matches in far flung Hong Kong and Buenos Aires.

“Let’s look forward to that and make our fans proud of what we can do. We have to keep pushing. If we lose any belief that we can’t qualify. We certainly aren’t going to roll over.

"We are going to keep fighting hard. We need to keep confidence and energy in this group.”

His team spent the bulk of their 24-17 defeat against the Sharks on the backfoot.

They scored two long range tries from intercepts which kept them in the contest. Fleck knows however improvement is needed across the board.

“I guess a better performance than two weeks ago but again soft moments at crucial times by certain individuals are letting us down. I guess that has been the case for us the whole season. We have to regroup and look forward.

“We knew the Sharks were going to be better than last week. I thought we did well and stayed in the fight for a long while in the first half.

“In the second half I would have expected us to take advantage of that. We had our opportunities and had an opportunity to draw the game but credit to the Sharks’ defence for keeping us out. Again critical decisions meant we didn’t execute correctly. That let us down at the end.”

Fleck tried to sound belligerent about the remainder of their campaign but he wasn’t sure how many log points would get them into the play-offs.

“Quite a few‚” he chuckled when asked.

“The Lions are running away with it now. We certainly need to qualify for that top eight.

“On Monday we start again. We are looking forward to some home games. It is important that we regroup and get going again. At the moment we are not good enough to qualify and that is why we need to improve our performance to qualify.

“By no means is it over. I guess us winning the conference is no longer a reality. If we just cut the errors in our game then I think we can look forward to the next seven.

“I don’t care what the math says we a going to fight hard to qualify.”