Fleck hails Stormers pack

Date published: February 28 2016

New Stormers coach was full of parise his his team's tight-five following Staurday's 33-9 victory over the Bulls in Round One.

The hosts outscored the team from Pretoria by three tries to nil in the second half, to secure a bonus point and get their 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign off to an encouraging start with a bonus po

"The tight five did exceptionally well and the fact that we got Springboks on the bench that can come on and make a huge impact, makes a huge difference for us," said Fleck.

"I think we were really smart – credit must go to Frans [Malherbe] and Schalk in terms of their leadership. We made good decisions when it came to scrum time in that second half and we really started to get that dominance.

"From a line-out perspective we are very happy. In terms of contesting I thought Eben [Etzebeth] was exceptional in the front. 

"He put a lot of pressure on the Bulls. In the past we didn't contest as much as we should have so we are trying to create situations where we are competing."

Apart from their set-piece dominance, perhaps the most satisfying part of the performance was the fact that the Stormers managed to prevent the visitors from scoring a try, which Fleck said was decisive in clinching the bonus point in the end.

"The bonus point win is because of our defence, again our defence was exceptional. We always felt that they were going to test us and I felt that we defended exceptionally well," he explained.

"We are trying to create a situation where we are competing, whether that is on the deck, in our defence, in the tackle or in the line-outs or scrum-time – we want that ball back," he said

Although happy with his team’s bonus-point win, Fleck wants to see his side keep improving and keep their feet firmly on the ground.

The next challenge for Fleck’s charges is a trip to Bloemfontein next week to face a dangerous Cheetahs outfit, and they will certainly not be taking anything for granted heading into that clash.

"Obviously it is nice to get off to a start like this, but we have still got lots to do, it is still the first round and we are going to work incredibly hard to keep improving every week.

"There are still a few work-ons, we are going to Bloemfontein next week and we haven’t won there in two years, so that is our focus.

"The most important thing is that these guys relax and enjoy this moment, ut come Monday they have got to come charging in with one point in mind and that is to get a win in Bloem," said Fleck.

Although his side held a slender 9-6 lead at the half-time break, Fleck said that he was always confident that the momentum was with his team.

"We were very confident at half-time, we felt that the game was swinging our way. We always knew it was going to be tough in that first half and credit to the Bulls – they came and put us under pressure with their kicking game," he said.

The Stormers boss lauded the impact of his replacements, as the likes of co-captain Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, JC Janse van Rensburg, Siya Kolisi and JD Schickerling all made major contributions to their forward dominance in the final stages of the game.