Planet Rugby

Coetzee hails Stormers' character

26th April 2013 13:54

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Stormers wing Bryan Habana looking for space

Habana: Charge down proved crucial

Stormers boss Allister Coetzee praised his team's character after their 18-16 Super Rugby victory over the Hurricanes on Friday.

The Stormers edged out the 'Canes in a hard-fought game which produced four tries in total, with full-back Joe Pietersen adding eight valuable points through his trusty right boot.

"I think that's the most important thing - to win your first game up," said Coetzee.

"It showed a lot of character.

"We've lost some close games this season, to the Crusaders and the Cheetahs, winning a close one like this is an important step for us in the right direction."

When asked about their game-related positives, Coetzee had a special word of praise for Springbok wing Bryan Habana whose charge down of a Beauden Barrett conversion attempt proved to be the difference between a victory and a draw.

"First and foremost, our set-piece functioned well in tough conditions," he added.

"Then, obviously, I thought our tactics worked well for us - I think we adapted better than the Hurricanes on the night.

"We took our opportunities well. Yes, we left a few out there and that's something we'll work on, but a helluva lot of credit must go to the pack and I also thought our defence did well again.

"Bryan's charge-down (of the conversion) was obviously a big moment.

"I haven't seen that done in rugby in a long time... but that shows you the class of Bryan - he's always thinking, always using keeping his head in the game."

On a disappointing note, flanker Michael Rhodes - one of his team's two try-scorers in Palmerston North - could be on his way home after picking up an ankle injury.

"It's unfortunate for him - he's done his ankle," said the Stormers boss.

"It's not looking good at this stage. We're sending him for X-Rays... he might be on his way home.

"It's quite painful (for Mike) at this point in time, but Mike's injury aside it's looking good for us and it was also pleasing to see how the senior players stepped up."

Meanwhile, Coetzee also confirmed that flanker Siya Kolisi - a late withdrawal from the team on Friday with a groin injury - would hopefully be able to rejoin team training from Tuesday of next week.

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