Stormers coach Allister Coetzee believes that his team need to adapt their game next year if they are to challenge for Super Rugby honours.
Coetzee cites Western Province’s Currie Cup Final loss to the Sharks as a harsh lesson that teams will not make the mistake of trying to ‘engage’ with his side.
The Stormers coach believes that his team’s renowned defensive system means that the opposition are no longer willing to run at them and pointed to the kicking game the Sharks employed at Newlands as an example of what they will have to deal with week-in and week-out in Super Rugby next year.
He told this website: “Teams don’t want to engage with us anymore which is what happened in the Currie Cup Final – the Sharks weren’t prepared to run, they opted to kick so therefore your tactics have to change.
“Every game you lose you investigate and you pick up trends. We expected the Sharks to kick behind our wings in the corners; they kicked from middle ruck which was something different and someone who had an insight into the way we defend worked it out.
“On the day, I am not blaming any player, but it was difficult for the players to adjust to that but we have learned again from that.”
Coetzee said that this approach is something that teams such as the Crusaders and Reds have used against them in the past, and added that the challenge is to adapt their gameplan accordingly.
“The big thing is not engaging with the Stormers, when we played the Crusaders this year it took us ten minutes to understand that they were not prepared to run.
“Teams respect our defence so much, so we have to look at opportunities and be able to utilise the position we are in,” he said.
The Stormers boss said that he was encouraged by the way his team attacked in the Currie Cup, which is something he hopes to carry forward into Super Rugby next year.
“What we have always been striving to do is ensure we have balance in the way we play. I think we progressed in the Currie Cup in terms of our attack and the way we utilised turnover possession and counter-attacking opportunities.
“In the past we might have been conservative and defence-orientated, but one has got to understand that was done because that is how the competition goes and to put the odds in your favour you can’t do something else.
“Now we also see that there are other opportunities, that is the important thing for us next year – we have got to get the balance.
“Certain things worked in the Currie Cup and we will certainly take that into Super Rugby without deviating from our strong defence and strong kicking game,” he said.
By Michael de Vries