Stormers battered but proud

THE Stormers looked a battered lot yesterday after Saturday's bruising encounter with the Bulls.

THE Stormers looked a battered lot yesterday after Saturday's bruising encounter with the Bulls.

Inside centre Juan de Jongh has picked up a hamstring injury, Andries Bekker had to leave the field for 10 minutes for some running repairs to a cut and numerous players sported bruises and bumps - testimony to a battle royale.

But Stormers coach Allister Coetzee remained upbeat despite the 17-25 loss to the marauding Bulls.

"Obviously we are disappointed since we have worked really hard this year and we came here to Orlando to win the trophy.

"Though we had an outstanding season we are not quite there yet," Coetzee said.

"We made a couple of mistakes with dropped balls, which put us under pressure. You can't play catch-up rugby against the Bulls.

"Without a doubt these were the two best teams in the competition and South African rugby can be proud of that," he said.

Bulls captain Victor Matfield was gracious in their triumph.

"One day we will look back and realise how special today was. It's been a long journey in what is the toughest competition in the world.

"To go 15 weeks and be the champs ... well, we will enjoy it," said Matfield in a post match interview.

And it seems the towering Matfield is becoming quite a fan of Orlando Stadium.

"The guys really enjoyed the two weeks here. We have seen what sport can do for our country. It can build bridges and hopefully with the soccer World Cup coming up, it will carry on from here," he said.

Coach Frans Ludeke paid tribute to Matfield and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez. "These two guys are the brains behind this side. They study the game and make coaching the side an easy job."

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