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Stormers still trying for ruthless finishing

Raymond Rhule of the Stormers celebrates scoring a try with teammates during the 2018 Super Rugby match between the Stormers and the Jaguares at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town on 17 February 2018.
Stormers Raymond Rhule of the Stormers celebrates scoring a try with teammates during the 2018 Super Rugby match between the Stormers and the Jaguares at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town on 17 February 2018.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

The Stormers are still not satisfied with their game despite two good wins over the past two weekends and are still searching for the formula to being more ruthless and clinical in their finishing.

In the past two weeks they have beaten the Blues (37-20) and the Reds (25-19) at Newlands and scored seven tries. They are the fifth-highest try-scorers out of the 15 teams in the tournament.

But they have left several on the pitch‚ which is a source of nagging frustration for coach Robbie Fleck‚ especially after last week’s game against the Reds.

“We were dominant and created opportunities‚ but I am not happy with the final execution‚” Fleck said. “If we get that right then the points will pile up and the scores will be bigger.

“If we can have a week where we can have some continuity in our play and selections‚ we can go far in this competition.

“The players were a little bit frustrated at the end there‚ because they know they were the dominant team.

“We dictated the game for the majority of it but our execution let us down in the second half when we had so many opportunities.

“It is disappointing that we didn’t win by more‚ but credit to the Reds – they stayed in the fight‚ but the tries they scored were through our errors.”

Skills and attack coach Paul Feeney‚ though‚ isn’t panicking. The Stormers backline is callow and injuries have robbed it of consistency in the back three.

“Some days are better than others for whatever reason – the opposition has put too much pressure on you‚ or you were running too fast and cut down your time to think and to make a decision – and you make a mistake‚” Feeney said.

“So in training we constantly working on repetition so to all comes naturally. If you haven’t played 30‚ 40 Super Rugby games you have a long way to go.

“I consider that the threshold to finding your feet and some of our younger backs are new to this level of rugby and they are tasked with being the decision-makers. I understand when they don’t see the occasional chance.”

But Feeney recognised that the Stormers have to make improvements in some areas.

“We have to get back to playing with more width‚” Feeney said. “We haven’t played as expansively as we did last year. We’ve been more forward dominant and gone down the middle a lot.

“We scored four tries against the Crusaders and they came from three props and a lock‚ so it’s not quite the flair of last year‚ is it?

“That highlight is how well some of our forwards are carrying‚ which is a plus for us.

“Against the Blues the backs scored four tries and against the Reds the backs combined for some good tries too.

“Every team will leave a few opportunities out there because it’s not easy and sometimes you have to take your hat off to the defence‚ because that’s what they are training to do.”

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