No one remembers which team was fourth on the log after the tenth round of matches in last year’s Super 14 rugby competition, says Rassie Erasmus.
Stephen Nell writes for Die Burger that Stormers coach sounded this warning soon after his team had jumped from ninth to fourth place on the points table by beating the Hurricanes 20-12 at Newlands on Saturday.
“Who was fourth after ten rounds last year?” he asked. “Where we are now does not mean anything.
“Everyone knows which teams were in the top four after thirteen rounds last year. That is what is important. We’ll continue to focus on winning our next match.
“I keep begging the players to focus on the next task; even the next task within a match. We can’t keep hoping certain other teams will beat certain others.
“We want to be fourth after thirteen rounds; not after ten,” Erasmus said.
Asked whether he may now have a home semi-final in his sights, he replied, “Have you thought about ninth if we lost” I’m not watching the points table because it makes me nervous.”
Nevertheless, the Stormers produced the kind of performance against the Hurricanes that should make their coaching staff and supporters very optimistic.
They defended like Trojans, particularly in the first half, and for the Hurricanes to come back from 20-0 after 53 minutes was always a tough proposition.
“This is a relief because the Hurricanes are really a good team,” Erasmus said. “They played well; therefore I am happy that we won.
Played extremely well
“If they did not play well and we beat them I would still have been satisfied but they played extremely well at times.
“I know their coach well. They have come along as a team for three or four years. That’s why it was a major challenge to us.
“It does, of course, give us more confidence for our next match. Let’s hope we can keep it up.”
Erasmus does not believe Saturday’s performance was the best one the Stormers have produced since he began coaching them at the start of the year.
“I’d still say the match against the Chiefs was our best, taking into account how much pressure we were under. The match against the Western Force was also special.
“The Hurricanes were the most physical team and they had the most individual brilliance in their ranks, which we had to counter. That’s why it’s particularly satisfying.”
Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper said the “Rassie Erasmus factor” had been one of the main reasons for his team’s first Super 14 defeat at Newlands.
The Hurricanes beat the Stormers 25-19 and 23-19 at Newlands in 2004 and 2006.
“The Stormers seem to be enjoying the game and they really play well as a team,” Cooper said. “That try (by Schalk Brits) in the second half was brilliant.
“Their ability to offload in contact and the trust they show in each other” it is clear that Rassie Erasmus has bred much confidence in this team.
“If the Stormers continue in this vein and keep believing in themselves anything can happen.”Tweet