The Capetonians’ losing habit continued at Newlands on Saturday when they went down 22-11 to the Waratahs. Having trailed 10-8 at the break they now find themselves stone-last in the Super Rugby competition.
“It’s tough to keep your hands on the ball at the breakdown when you are on the back foot,” said Vermeulen.
“I think we came into the match with a good game-plan, we executed well in the first half but not in the second when small mistakes crept into our game.”
It was the first loss the Stormers had suffered at home to the Australian side since 2006 and their fifth straight one in their current poor campaign.
The Stormers’ big moment arrived in the 22nd minute when centre Juan de Jongh broke the line to set up wing Kobus van Wyk over for a scintillating try.
But that was as good as it got.
In the second half the Stormers however scored only three points, while the Waratahs converted two long-range penalties by fullback Kurtley Beale and another two by flyhalf Bernard Foley.
The Waratahs’ only try came in the 14th minute when their scrumhalf Nick Phipps picked up the ball behind the Stormers scrum to catch the home team flat-footed.
Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis said they have learned some lessons after their clash the previous week against the Sharks was marred by a lot of niggle and aggression by both sides.
“We except the physical side of the game and I think this time we fronted up better and got the result,” he said.
“We have been disappointed with our set-pieces the last few weeks but we are happy to become the first Aussie team this year to win on SA soil.”