Fleck hails Blues defeat as Stormers ‘best game of year’
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck defiantly labelled Saturday’s 24-9 defeat against the Blues as the Stormers’ ‘best game of the year’.
The Cape side slumped to their 12th consecutive loss in New Zealand and their second on the current tour. They also failed to score a try against the Blues and after six matches remain the team with the fewest tries in the tournament (nine).
There was certainly more attacking intent from the Stormers and they did stretch the Blues defence for most of the game. But the Stormers’ numerous moves broke down through a combination of handling errors‚ poor decisions and sloppy passes.
It was a 10 out of 10 performance for effort but a 0 out of 10 for execution.
“This was the best game we’ve played this year. I’m very happy with our rhythm in attack and only our final effort let us down‚” Fleck said.
“Not scoring tries isn’t a concern at all. We created a lot of opportunities tonight‚ which we didn’t finish.”
The Stormers made an unacceptable 24 handling errors.
They carried the ball 159 times for 938 metres‚ yet couldn’t break down the Blues defence.
The Blues were even down to 14 men for the final 11 minutes after wing Tanielu Tele’a was red carded and still the Stormers couldn’t find a way through.
Fleck is correct that the Stormers showed more intent and variety on attack‚ but the one stat that matters – scoring tries – still registered zero.
“The margins are small in this competition and if you’re only slightly off your game in one area any team can beat you. We were pretty good tonight and gave it a good crack‚” Fleck said.
“The pace of the game was high‚ which put both teams’ skill set under pressure.
"Both teams had good line speed and when we got in behind them their scrambling defence was excellent. We added more width to our game and shifted points of attack‚ but with that came more errors.
“If we can brush up on that we can become a more complete side‚ instead of a forward dominated team.
“Every week is tough in terms of preparation. So we need to the energy back and looking at the positives. There were a lot tonight (against the Blues.)”
Captain Siya Kolisi tipped his cap to the Blues’ streetwise ability to slow Stormers ball at crucial times in a match that had a lot of niggle.
“The Blues are pretty smart with their tactics around the ruck‚” Kolisi said.
“Our scrumhalf was under a lot of pressure. He felt he was held back at times but they were streetwise. They slowed our ball‚ but if you can get away with it then good luck.
“We came on tour to win four out of four. It’s tough. We’re down‚ but we are not negative because we have two chances against the Reds and Rebels in Australia.”