Stormers skipper Jean de Villiers says his unbeaten side will have to turn it up a notch if they are to compete with the Bulls next week.
TEAMtalk Media, Sunday Times
Despite a 24-19 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, De Villiers was far from happy with his team’s display.
The tournament leaders enjoyed an 18-point lead after 26 minutes of play, but a valiant fight back from the hosts saw the Cape Town side once again relying on their famous defensive structures.
The Lions progressed to within two points of the Stormers, but two late penalty conversions sealed victory for the visitors.
“I think we played really well for 20 or 30 minutes and then I think we got a little bit complacent,” said De Villiers.
“We will take the four points away from home, but when I heard that result at Loftus [the Bulls beat the Reds 61-8], and if we play like this next week, the result might be the same for us.”
Stormers’ coach Allister Coetzee said the Lions forced them to fight until the end to secure their first away victory.
“We will have to be able to put two halves together with great accuracy against the Bulls next weekend,” he said.
“It is never easy to come and win here [at Ellis Park] and it is our first match away from home and at the Highveld.”
Coetzee was encouraged by his team’s fitness and ability to keep a resurgent Lions side from scoring the match-winning points.
“Our fitness is unbelievable,” Coetzee said.
“If we can still defend as we did at the end when the Lions kept the ball through so many phases and kept us under pressure then I am very satisfied with the defensive session we had.
“It is great defensive performance and one thing that a Stormers side will always pride themselves in and keeping them out those last 10 minutes was something special.
“For us, it is a about building on the momentum and it is important to take your points because if you lose, you have to work so much harder to get back to winning.
“I don’t think we have to feel guilty for being unbeaten as it is because of the hard work we’ve put in.”
Lions’ coach John Mitchell said he was heartened by his side’s spirited fight back, but felt that they needed to work some more on their set piece play.
“I think just clearly, set piece accuracy, if you look at the first lot of three points came from set piece accuracy, your restart, attacking line out and a scrum,” said Mitchell.
“Fortunately, we are having to build a new forward pack right now and our level as a forward pack is certainly in the set pieces is not at the level of the Stormers and that is where they hurt us.
“We displayed character, we worked very hard for each other which were extremely pleasing, and we forced them and put them under a lot of pressure.”
Mitchell said a spate of injuries translated into a lack of team cohesion as they built a new team.
“We are maximising with exactly what we’ve got so let’s not be ridiculous here and be unrealistic.
“We are dealing with some players who are learning to play Super Rugby and are building a new team.
“The character that they displayed as a group tonight [Saturday] was phenomenal.”