Home Sport Bottom dwellers Stormers are ‘still in it’, says Fleck

Bottom dwellers Stormers are ‘still in it’, says Fleck

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Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is confident that they’re “still in it” despite losing to the Chiefs, their seventh Super Rugby defeat this season.

Picture: BackpagePix

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is confident that they’re “still in it” despite losing to the Chiefs, their seventh Super Rugby defeat this season.

The Stormers are now last in the South African conference and 11th on the overall log following the 15-9 loss to the Bulls, but Fleck is drawing some hope from the fact that their conference is so tight.

The Lions remain at the top of the South African conference, but they’re only seven points clear of the Jaguares, the Bulls and the Sharks – who are all on 24 – while the Stormers have 23 points.

The Lions and the Stormers have both played 12 games, though, so the Jaguares, Bulls and Sharks still have a game in hand. All of the Stormers’ games since their troubling away results have been referred to as “must-wins”, but with only four games remaining, that description is even more applicable now if they want to keep their ever-slimming chances of making it into the play-offs alive.

“We have four games left and we’re still in it” Fleck said after the frustrating tussle.

“It’s a funny competition this year. No one is guaranteed anything yet and you have to fight for every point. This conference is going down to the wire.

“For us every game is a must-win and we have to approach it in that way. We aren’t thinking about the Lions yet because we get on the plane on Sunday (yesterday) to prepare to beat the Sunwolves.

“There is a lot of rugby to be played with New Zealand teams having to play each other so a lot can still change. We will take our best team to Hong Kong because every game is a quarter-final and there will be no other mindset but trying to win every game.”

The Stormers have every right to feel aggrieved after their defeat at Newlands – a game in which New Zealand referee Mike Fraser made a number of questionable calls that favoured Colin Cooper’s Chiefs.

Some of his calls at the scrum rightfully raised some eyebrows, while the Chiefs got away with a lot in open play as well. One of those things was their blocking runs, while another example of Fraser’s dubious performance was penalising Stormers hooker Ramone Samuels for side entry at the ruck, even though the ball was out already.

Fleck refused to comment on the standard of officiating.

And while Fleck wasn’t sure where they lost the game, he was pleased with what they got right in the battle.

“I don’t quite know where we lost it. The energy was going both ways. We didn’t convert the few chances we had and we also worked hard to turn over possession at one stage and gave it immediately back to them. That led to the penalties and scrums that ended in the penalty try.

“I will say that both defences were good today and this was certainly our best defensive performance of the season.”

An experienced 25-man Stormers squad left Cape Town yesterday morning for their historic match against the Sunwolves in Hong Kong on Saturday, and the obvious omission is flyhalf Damian Willemse, who’ll join the Junior Boks for the World Rugby Under-20 Championships, which runs until June 17.

Jean-Luc du Plessis will take over the No 10 jersey in Willemse’s absence, and when asked about back-up for Du Plessis, Fleck said that Dillyn Leyds can also play there if needed.

The Stormers coach also said that he’s expecting a tough contest against the Sunwolves.