CAPE TOWN – Stormers captain Siya Kolisi says the victory over the Bulls is vindication the team is finally starting to hit its straps.
The Stormers fronted up to the Bulls on Saturday at Newlands to come away with a hard-fought 24-23 victory.
Their kicking game was particularly good, while they also beat their arch-rivals from up north in the battle for the ball on the ground. This allowed the home team to play with a greater degree of width, with all three tries scored by backline players.
Wings Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senalta along with scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies all dotted down.
“The message was simple this week before the Bulls game – ‘do whatever it takes to win’” Kolisi said. “That’s what we focused on. The coach just asked to respect the ball in the 22 and also to play with freedom, which is why we gave the ball some air.
“The toughest part for us this year has been our lack of execution. We were better this week although we did let them back into the game at stages.
“Our execution against the Bulls was a step in the right direction. We won’t change the way we play against the Jaguares but we will take the opposition’s defence into account and make the appropriate tweaks.”
Any clash against the Bulls requires the senior core to front up. Kolisi certainly led from the front with the Springbok captain putting in a valiant performance on Saturday afternoon. He was particularly good in taking on further responsibility after his Bok teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit – often the catalyst for the Stormers – was forced off the field.
The Bulls are feared for their good work at the breakdown, but Kolisi neutralised the danger Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen posed.
“The important thing I focused on this past week was the breakdown because I know what an important weapon it is for them. I tried to focus on that,” Kolisi said.
“I also got the ball in my hands a couple of times which felt good, plus I made a couple of tackles on the tryline. So, I do feel a bit better than I have over the last couple of weeks.”
Kolisi will have to maintain this level of performance with Du Toit looking unlikely to make the trip to Argentina this week for the Jaguares clash. Du Toit left the field on Saturday with a shoulder injury and will go for a scan this week to ascertain the severity of the injury.
The Stormers should at least have Jaco Coetzee, Juarno Augustus and Sikhumbuzo Notshe returning from injury this week to bolster the loose-forward resources.