Super Rugby news: 'On-field' focus vital for Stormers
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Stormers’ 33-28 win over the Bulls have managed to momentarily eclipse the off-field drama surrounding the franchise. By Leezil Hendricks.
The dispute within the Cape Town-based Super Rugby franchise have overshadowed the Stormer’s preseason build-up the last few weeks.
Rugby365 earlier reported that the disagreement stems from Western Province Football Union President Zelt Marais wanting Paul Treu to replace Gert Smal as Director of Rugby.
The boardroom battle even resulted in rumours of a player strike and sponsors pulling out of the franchise
However, the WP Rugby officials quickly nullified all the speculations.
And seems like the Stormers players have successfully managed a way to put the shenanigans behind them as well.
“For me, what’s important is that the players stay focused on the controllable,” Captain Chris van Zyl told reporters after the win at the Cape Town stadium.
“The coaches have done a good job in that regard.
“Our focus is on the on-field stuff and what is great to see is the good feeling and energy among the players, which was tangible in the way the guys defended and attacked against the Bulls.
“Think whatever happened off the field had no impact on the way we played,”
Captain Van Zyl scored the winning try during the 33-28 win over the Bulls on Sunday.
The Stormers were quick out of the blocks and took a 21-0 lead thanks to early blunders by the Springbok-laden Bulls side.
“They made a few errors and we capitalized on that which is pleasing to see,” Stormers coach Robert Fleck said.
“Credit to the Bulls they clawed their way back into the match. I think at halftime we had the chat to stop the Bulls’ momentum that they were generating from our mistakes at the line-outs, but there was some outstanding defence for a long period of time.
“In the second half we started dominating the collisions and an opportunity arise to score the late winner,”
Fleck credited the Stormers so-called ‘B-team’ for their performance against the Bulls side who had eight Springboks in their squad and explained that the depth will only be good news for the Super Rugby season.
“For the youngsters, it was a great opportunity, think not a lot of the guys have played against guys like Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Brits, Handre Pollard and Lood De Jager.
“Thus, for the guys to step up and get that early lead gives a lot of confidence for the group. It also creates healthy competition within the team and with the Springboks integrating next week, it definitely boosts the level of training compared to last year.
“We have been building over the last four years and finally are able to build some depth,”
Fleck also revealed that he will make use of majority of his Springbok stars, who missed the Super Hero Sunday fixture, during their pre-season fixtures against Boland on Friday.
The Cape side open their Super Rugby opener against Bulls at Loftus on February 16.