Cape Town - Stormers coach Allister Coetzee still believes the substitution decision that brought Kurt Coleman onto the field after halftime in Bloemfontein last weekend was the right one even though the replacement flyhalf missed crucial penalties that could have swung the result.
The Stormers went down 25-17 but Coleman missed three penalties that would have put the team 20-18 during the course of a second half where the Stormers fought back well from an earlier 15 point deficit, reports the supersport.com website.
In all Coleman missed four out of five kicks at the posts, with the only successful one being the conversion of Duane Vermeulen’s try from right in front.
By contrast, starting flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis boasted a 100% record from the kicking tee before being replaced and has been immaculate with his goalkicking all season. There was speculation after the Cheetahs game that Catrakilis might have been injured, but Coetzee denied this was the case.
"It was a tactical substitution and I still stick by that decision,” said Coetzee.
"We needed to have Kurt on the field because of what he can bring in general play, it was what we felt we needed after half-time.
"And I can show you the stats, he delivered with his allround game.
"His passing and attacking was excellent, so was his kicking out of hand, it was only the place kicks where he fell down.
"I am not sure what went wrong with Kurt in kicking for posts, but we couldn’t have predicted that it would go so wrong.
"He’s kicked well this season and has kicked some pressure conversions and penalties from the touchline.
"Maybe there is a confidence issue and I will find out more once I get to speak to Kurt in the one-on-ones later in the week."
Coleman’s all-round game was off when he came on after half-time during the Newlands clash with the Bulls the week before, so Coetzee said it was possible that Coleman might have been suffering a confidence crisis that dates back to then.
"It could well be that Kurt has suffered because he hasn’t been starting.
"Some players are like that, they need to start fairly regularly or their confidence is dented.
"The problem is that we’ve had Demetri in excellent form as the starting flyhalf and until now Kurt was doing well for us in closing out the games."
Coetzee scoffed at any suggestion that he might drop Coleman out of the squad altogether because of his Bloemfontein goalkicking walkabout.
"On what basis would I do that? This was one game.
"Robert du Preez played well for the Vodacom Cup team last week but you have to make sure you are comparing apples with apples when you look at your selection options.
"Kurt has done well for us this season and Bloemfontein was just one game.
"I’m sure we can work on whatever went wrong with Kurt in that match and get it right."