Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck was encouraged by his team’s performance in their 40-15 victory over the South Western Districts Eagles in George on Saturday. In what was their first pre-season friendly of the year the Stormers outscored their hosts by six tries to two in an entertaining match in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Outeniqua Park. Although the Stormers coach acknowledged that there are still some areas to work on ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season, he was especially pleased with the positive attacking intent shown by his young squad.
Fleck says: ‘I was very pleased with the performance, it was our first game and everything we have been working on came through, so it was a step in right direction and everyone got a decent amount of game time. There is still plenty to work on and there were mistakes, but credit to SWD, they put us under pressure at the breakdown and tested our contact skills. It is never easy to play there and they contributed towards a good game. At this stage I don’t mind mistakes, I just wanted to see intent and we certainly showed that.’
Having had a defensive session against UCT the week before, the focus for the clash with the Eagles was to sharpen the Stormers’ attacking game and they showed some impressive finishing with Kurt Coleman, Nizaam Carr and Khanyo Ngcukana all crossing for tries whilst the speedy Leolin Zas grabbed a hat-trick. Fleck says: ‘We were focused on attack, and the goals we set ourselves we achieved in terms of a good ball in hand approach and conditioning wise. We left a few tries out there, but we didn’t go for the corner or use our maul. We took 10 quick taps which showed the intent of the team in their general attacking game.’
Although they conceded two tries early in the second half, Fleck was pleased with the way his relatively inexperienced team responded to secure a comfortable victory in the end. The coach says: ‘I was happy with the defence as well, but there is still lots to work on and we are still evolving and improving as a team.’