The DHL Stormers, already assured of a home Super Rugby Qualifier match at Newlands next Saturday, finished their 2015 league campaign with a loss to the Sharks in Durban but it did not deter coach Allister Coetzee.
The Stormers went down 12-34 to the Sharks at Kings Park, coach Coetzee having made a massive 14 changes to his line-up from the week before.
It was a tactic employed by Coetzee during Western Province’s victorious 2014 Absa Currie Cup campaign – ironically also against the Sharks – and he was once again happy with his decision.
“This is part of the building phase and we’re looking forward to next week (in our Super Rugby Qualifier) against the Brumbies – it’s the important game,” the Stormers’ boss told the www.iamastormer.com website.
“We never go out there to lose and we’re not happy at all with our performance, having arrived here in a positive frame of mind, but our error rate was too high – we made some crucial mistakes and our cohesion wasn’t there.
“We tested a similar thing by resting our guys in the Absa Currie Cup last year, and it worked for us, but it was important to give some guys a break, both physically and mentally.
“I don’t think this defeat will affect our momentum at all, in fact I think the players will come back refreshed,” he added.
“We’ve met all our objectives thus far, by resting our Springboks as per the agreement with SA Rugby, and by getting that home qualifying (play-off) match.”
Captain on the night, No.8 Nizaam Carr, added: “We were a bit too over-eager at times, but I guess that was understandable given the (new) players wanted to prove themselves.
“Our error-rate was high, like the coach said, so that was disappointing.”
Coetzee, meanwhile, praised hooker Michael Willemse’s performance (in his first start at this level), whilst he also pointed to flyhalf Kurt Coleman’s flawless goalkicking record on the night.