Stormers coach ‘cracking the whip’

If the Stormers had any doubts about their coach’s dismay after their Super 14 First Round loss to the Cheetahs at the weekend, the record has been set straight.


Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe certainly “cracked the whip” during the team’s video analysis and a contact session later on Monday – as they started [preparing for their Round Two encounter with the Western Force in Cape Town on Friday.


Van der Merwe left no doubt about his disappointment, following the 19-9 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.


The tight forwards in particular – often regarded as the team’s Achilles’ heel – came in for some scrutiny.


Van der Merwe admitted that the performance of the forwards, and in particular the tight forwards, was cause for concern.


"Obviously we’re very concerned about the forwards’ display [against the Cheetahs],” Van der Merwe told this website.


“We said before the game our tight five is good enough. I just feel the intensity was not there [i[in the opening round]nd that is something that can be corrected.


“They [t[the tight five]ave this coming Friday to prove it,” the coach added.


He said the first steps to rectify the matter were taken on Monday.


“We had a very thorough video session and we were very critical of some aspects. We were honest and forthright – the players were honest with each other about their expectations and after that we had a very good contact session.


“In that [c[contact]ession the intensity and the physical aspects [o[of the Stormers’ game]ere addressed,” the coach said.


But it was not just the lack of intensity – which was way below the standards they set last year, especially during two Currie Cup wins over the Bulls – that worried Van der Merwe.


“The restarts … we missed a vital restart, which resulted in CJ van der Linde’s try.


“It remains a concern. It is a worry that after we scored, we conceded points so easily.


“Our defence is also a concern. We were forced to defend for long periods and we missed a number of our first-up tackles.


“We also paid a lot of attention to those aspects at practice [o[on Monday] he said.


* Meanwhile it has been confirmed that lock Ross Skeate, who came on as a second-half replacement in the loss to the Cheetahs, has been ruled out with a foot injury for about two weeks.


He will consult a specialist on Tuesday, after which they will know exactly how long he will be sidelined.


By Jan de Koning of 365 Digital

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