Coetzee: Kings no walk in the park
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has dismissed suggestions that Saturday's game against the Southern Kings will be a walk in the park.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has dismissed suggestions that their derby game against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday will be a walk in the park.
Although the Stormers, 11th on the log, have struggled this season, they are earmarked to come away from their first Super Rugby visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with a comfortable win over the tournament newcomers.
The Kings, 14th on the log and set for a promotion-relegation battle with the Lions, were not competitive in their 48-18 loss to the Bulls last weekend.
However, Coetzee believes the Kings will be up for Saturday’s clash and that his charges will need to work hard for the win.
“There is no walk in the park in Super Rugby - you probably do that on a Sunday,” Coetzee said on Wednesday.
“This is a quality Kings side; they are the best mauling side in the country at the moment. They score the most mauling tries, so how can they be a walk in the park? They have an accurate goal kicker in Demetri Catrakilis, so discipline will be very important.
“We are under no illusion, this is going to be one massive game. That is how we have mentally prepared and by making sure we respect them by knowing our detail and making sure we get it right, otherwise it will be a long day at the office."
Stormers captain Deon Fourie echoed Coetzee’s sentiments regarding the Kings’ mauling prowess and said it has been an area of focus for them this week.
“We have a lot of confidence in our mauls. It’s something we work hard on and pride ourselves on but in the case of playing the Kings, who have scored the most tries in the competition from mauls, the focus is on defending the maul … it’s going to be a challenge,” said Fourie.
The versatile Fourie said he had no difficulty alternating between hooker and flank, where he will once again lead out the side this weekend, and that it had no ill-effects.
“The only thing that changes is the number on my back. There is no change in the way I play or the gameplan,” he said.
Having a slight mathematical change of still reaching the play-offs, the Stormers require a full house from their final two league games and other results to go their way.
Coetzee, however, said they won’t focus on securing a four-try bonus point.
“Our philosophy has always been to win the game first. It’s not something you really look for [from the outset], you have to build an innings first. If you build an innings I’m sure towards the end of the match you will put yourself in a position to look for that,” he said.
“If you are in control of your own destiny it’s one thing, but if you have to look at permutations it’s out of your hands, so we focus on what we need to do.”
Coetzee felt the backline was much improved in the 28-3 win over the Cheetahs last weekend and expected a clinical performance from the back division against the Kings.
“I’m pleased with the way the backs went last week. We made a lot less errors in our own half, which is credit to Joe [Pietersen], Elton [Jantjies] and Louis [Schreuder] in terms of making sure our kicking execution is good.
“Once we play according to our systems and get it right the team seem to be firing well. One way to stop the opposition from scoring is minimising errors, so it’s important that we take our opportunities and don’t give anything on a platter.”
Coetzee said that while the season has been disappointing, he was pleased with the character the team have shown in the latter stages of the campaign.
“The big positive is that we have recovered after going through a bad patch. Whereas at the start of the season consistency was a problem, we have now won three on the trot.”
Coetzee has made just one injury-enforced change to his starting XV with Don Armand replacing Siya Kolisi, and the Stormers coach felt the selection would ensure that back row balance is maintained.
“Obviously it’s a big blow to lose Kolisi because he is a quality player but I have no doubt Don Armand will step up to the plate. He has been working hard and he has played for us at seven, so it made for an easy decision and a seamless change.
“Don has always been an integral part of our line-out work. As a seven flank he does that very well, his defensive line-out work is also very good and he is very good at playing towards the ball.
“We have got Deon who can carry well, Don who plays to the ball and Nizaam [Carr] who is also a good ball carrier, so the balance is still there.”