There seems no respite for the Stormers as they prepare to take the difficult course back to “winning ways”.
Gert Smal’s appointment as director of rugby at Newlands is unlikely to impact on the immediate fortunes of the Stormers, who will attempt to snap a five-match losing streak when they host the Lions on Saturday. Stormers’ head coach Allister Coetzee said at Monday’s media conference that the team’s objective was to turn their season around.
He added that no one could expect Smal’s appointment to bring about a drastic change of fortunes. “It is not as if Gert (can) wave a magic wand and things will change dramatically,” said Coetzee. “We are grateful for Gert’s input at the management meetings and we (the management) were pleased to see that we were working on things that he identified as problem areas.
“It’s good to have Gert on board because he sees things from the outside.” Last weekend the beleaguered Stormers had a bye, and Coetzee said the management used the break for “stock-taking” in an effort to find solutions to the side’s dreadful form, which has marooned the franchise at the bottom of the log. “We know that teams can go through (bad) patches and we’ve done stock-taking to look at our (game) plans,” said Coetzee.
“It’s about getting the problem areas right and this team is up for it. We’ve honed in on the basics and we are process-driven. “This team is not down and out and that is a big positive for me,” he said. “This is a challenge for this group and they trained with great enthusiasm at training today (Monday).
“I’m looking to players to take responsibility (for the way they play).” The Stormers will spend time working on the set-pieces ahead of the Lions match. “If you get the set-pieces right, you give yourself a good chance to win any game,” the coach said.
“The Lions have done well to disrupt opposition line-outs and we know what we’ll be up against,” he added. “It’s not a matter of having plan B but rather a matter of handling our options.” Coetzee said victory against the Lions was crucial for the team’s well-being for the rest of the season. “We want to get back to winning ways in order to build momentum, because we still have to play seven (South African) derbies,” he said.
“It’s so important that we get a win under our belts because that will help with the confidence. ‘We’ve played well in patches and this team has shown that they can be competitive.
“A win would offer extra value in terms of getting the belief back.”