Loose forward Jaco Coetzee admits that the Stormers have been left frustrated by three successive losses on tour. DYLAN JACK reports.
After beating the Sharks and Lions, the Stormers lost against the Blues, Hurricanes and Reds in Australasia. In all three matches, they wasted potential match-winning opportunities.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Coetzee said that these recent results have made the squad even more eager to put things right in their final tour game against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
‘After the game, it is very annoying and frustrating not to be able to pull through and score a few tries,’ Coetzee admitted. ‘To lose three in a row has been taking a bit out of us. However, we don’t lose sight of the goals to win the next game. We had a good day of training.
‘As teammates we are angry, but not at each other. We owe it to ourselves, we need to win. We have put everything behind us and are focusing on the Rebels. Everyone is excited, this is going to be a very good week for us.’
The Stormers will go into Friday’s game without captain Siya Kolisi, who has been rested after starting every match of the season so far. Kolisi will join the injured Eben Etzebeth, JD Schickerling and Chris van Zyl on the sidelines, while Pieter-Steph du Toit remains on paternity leave. Despite missing a wealth of experienced players, Coetzee says the younger players in the squad are not under any extra pressure to step into a leadership role.
‘We are not feeling that much pressure, to be honest,’ Coetzee says. ‘Siya does have a big role in this team and I do look up to him. This is an opportunity for us to step up because there are lots of young loosies. This is a good opportunity to grab with both hands, to stand our ground and see what happens on Friday.’
Playing in his first full tour for the Stormers, Coetzee admits he has had to condition himself to adapt to the pace at which games are played overseas.
‘The New Zealanders and Australians play at a high tempo. For me to adjust to that was quite difficult. I had to work on my conditioning, fitness and off-the-ball work. That has been a challenge. I have always enjoyed the physicality and the chance to run against big names in the squad is motivating me.
‘I am very happy to be able to start in the No 8 jersey,’ Coetzee adds. ‘I did not give myself that chance this year, especially with the loose forwards we have. But luckily I got that opportunity and I have been growing. I have lots of things to work on, both on and off the field and I am grateful for every opportunity I get to play. I am just here to do the best I can for my team and myself.’
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