THE Stormers need to stick to their guns on attack and show better discipline in defence for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Munster.
That was the view of outside centre Ruhan Nel, who scored the second try to put the Cape side 18-7 up against Benetton in Treviso at the weekend.
But the Stormers’ errors started catching up with them in the second half, and a mix of missed opportunities and penalties conceded allowed the Italian club to hit back for a 22-18 triumph.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for John Dobson’s team, especially as they were rank underdogs against the Rainbow Cup champions, who dispatched the Bulls in June.
The Stormers had the game in their hands, and they are keen to avoid making the same mistakes against Irish powerhouses Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick on Saturday (8.35pm kick-off).
“Playing as a team against new opposition, to play in front of a crowd – even though it was only 2 500 people – was incredible. But after that second-half try of mine, we actually thought the ball is probably on a roll now (for the Stormers).
But unfortunately soft moments, and penalties in the wrong areas in a spell of 2-3 minutes, where they got 10 points,” Nel said.
“Then you’re immediately under pressure again, and all of a sudden, one mistake and we’re back in our 22 and defending once again. So, soft moments and we obviously addressed that, and it’s something we are trying to fix this weekend.
“We definitely missed a few chances. Willie’s (Engelbrecht) forward pass to Sergeal (Petersen) was obviously a try, and we actually got into their 22 a couple of times, where we
couldn’t convert and we lost the ball. It’s small moments, and there were definitely times where we probably could’ve gotten another try or two. But it’s bad to sit afterwards and say, ‘If only, if only.’”
Munster have a number of South Africans in their ranks, such as head coach Johann van Graan, defence coach JP Ferreira, locks Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman, while Damian de Allende is currently with the Springboks in Australia. So, they will have a good idea of what to expect from the Stormers, but Nel said his team are excited about making their mark against such a powerful outfit.
“Munster are a very well-coached side, and we are going to make it an internal focus. We are chasing our own processes that we want to implement.
“We saw the result of that at the weekend when we were 18-7 ahead, and the plan was working pretty nicely,” said the 30-year-old midfielder, a former Blitzboks stalwart who was part of the Springboks squad in 2018.
“It will be nice to see if we can actually put up an 80-minute performance, and seeing that we led that game 18-7, if we could’ve managed to not give away a penalty or two in the wrong areas, that game could’ve easily turned (in our favour).
“I think we left a couple of opportunities out there as well. Based on our own performance and the plan leading up to the point where things went wrong, that actually gets me excited. It’s about keeping that concentration for the full 80 minutes.
“It’s Munster, and it’s a game you want to be a part of. It’s games that we want to play. We actually saw the Sharks game at the weekend, and that crowd alone – if that doesn’t get you up, then I don’t know what will.
“There’s more than enough motivation in that, even if it’s the second-round game. We are just really eager to rectify the mistakes we made at the weekend.”