Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says that it was a display of maturity that helped his side triumph in Saturday’s nail-biting 25-24 win over the Brumbies at Newlands.
The home side found themselves 16-3 down as half time approached, but a spirited second half performance saw them claw their way back into what was a fiery duel.
When Christian Lealiifano missed the sitter of a conversion that would have given the visitors the lead with 10 minutes to go, there was a sense that this would be the Stormers’ night.
The match boiled over on numerous occasions, and referee Stuart Berry had his hands full throughout, but all that the Capetonians will care about now is that they are the South African conference leaders.
“It’s special, I must say. To come back from 16-3 and win a game having had one training session (because of last week’s Springbok training camp) shows a lot about the team,” Coetzee said.
“We put ourselves under pressure again (in the first half) with simple mistakes, but there is a lot of character in this team.”
“We asked for two things. It is not like this team never had maturity, but we dropped ourselves last week against the Cheetahs. One training session, you come back and turn it around again and that is maturity,” the coach added.
“The second thing we asked for was for the players to play with their hearts tonight. I’m really proud of the team – leadership, management … everyone. The Brumbies are the Australian conference leaders that we played against, so it’s an impressive second half performance.”
The lineout had been an issue for the Stormers in the buildup to the match, and it remained a problem in the first half with hooker Bongi Mbonambi struggling to find his jumper on numerous occasions.
But Coetzee was happy with the improvement his forwards showed at lineout time.
“I was happy with the lineouts tonight, to be honest. One training session against one of the best contending sides, I think we had our ball,” said Coetzee.
“I think our plan with the bailouts went well, just to keep the ball in hand. It is still work in progress. I think the lineouts that mattered we took to night, but it is not perfect yet.”
The Stormers have a bye this week before hosting the Rebels next week Saturday.