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Stormers just about stay in play-off hunt

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 enjoyed a good weekend‚ not only because they ended a run of three defeats‚ but also because they saw other SA conference contenders slip up.

The Lions’ surprise loss to the Reds in Brisbane was followed by an agonising 29-28 last gasp loss for by the Bulls against the Highlanders at Loftus.

All this took place hours after the Stormers had beaten the Rebels 34-18 at Newlands. It hasn’t put the Cape Town side in a play-off position just yet‚ but that sequence of events inched them closer.

The Stormers meet the Bulls at Newlands next Saturday in another match that will have a significant bearing on play-off places.

The Stormers failed to secure a try-scoring bonus point against the Rebels though‚ which was the only negative of their much-needed win against the Rebels.

"We still believe that we can fight our way back into qualification‚” coach Robbie Fleck said.

“The bonus point would have been great‚ and it was important that the Rebels didn't get a bonus point because if we are not going to win our conference then we got to get into that top eight and we will be battling against other teams in that regard.

“There were glimpses of what we have been trying to achieve this year‚ but by no means was it a complete performance.

“We know there is still plenty that we can work on‚ but we are excited about what we can do. The pressure is still there for us to keep performing‚ but it was a better performance. It shows what this team can do. At stages we held onto the ball and made good decisions with ball in hand.

“It was good to see our attacking movements‚ with those short passes and straight running. We got a bit more width to our game and shifted the point of attack‚ which put them under pressure. There are things in our games that are really good‚ but there are still some soft moments‚ so we will keep working on that.

"We got the Bulls at home and the Chiefs and we are looking forward to those games now. It is a confidence booster. There are things in our game that is very good and there is still some soft moments‚ but we will keep working on that.”

Fleck‚ who has been under pressure after the Stormers lost six of their first nine matches‚ was adamant he was not going anywhere and that he would see out his contract. It runs until the end of next season.

"I still got another year on my contract‚" said Fleck.

"I am here and I have committed to the players and they are committed to us. We are just driving this process to get better and better and make the qualification [play-offs] and again‚ so I'm not going anywhere."

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