Cape Town - The Stormers are determined to take some valuable lessons from their Super Rugby quarter-final defeat to the Chiefs and come back stronger next season.
The Hamilton-based side were simply too strong for the hosts at Newlands on Saturday, and Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck gave credit to what was a superb performance from the visitors.
“They blew us away in that first half and the tempo they played at just killed us.
“You have got to give credit where it is due, and everything they tried came off for them,” he said.
Fleck said the challenge will be to learn from this experience and work hard to come back stronger next year when they will face New Zealand instead of Australian sides.
“For us it is a taste of what is to come next year, and some of our young guys now know what it is like. We are going to have to lick our wounds, and they are big ones.
“We have got a lot of work to do, and we have still got to get to grips with the intensity that they play at,” he said.
Looking back on the season captain Schalk Burger said that there has been encouraging growth which bodes well for the future.
“Of course it hurts, but you have got to have a little perspective - this team has come a long way. We started on a journey, we are a young side and I think we did remarkably well to get into a quarter-final.
“I think the challenge for this group is to stay true to their culture, and everyone must have introspection and improve.
“Fleckie and the management did remarkably well, at the beginning of the year I don’t think a lot of people gave us much of a chance, but we were comfortably winners of our conference.
“Tonight was painful, but I have really enjoyed working with this group of players who are super talented,” he said.
Fleck added that while there is room for growth, there is also a lot of potential in the current squad.
“I think that we can catch up, what we started this year we would like to continue next year.
“I certainly believe that this group can get there, we have had a taste of it now and we are going to work incredibly hard. It is about picking up the pieces now and I certainly believe that this group of players can go in that direction.
“I am certainly excited about what we can do as a group going forward.
“Obviously it is really disappointing and it is going to be a tough one to swallow, but for me as a coach it has been a great experience, I have had good leadership around me and the players have been fantastic in terms of their buy-in but I think we all realise that we are a fair bit off where we need to be and we have a lot of work to do next year,” he said.