Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
22 Feb 2019
7:54 am

Stormers bemoan overly dramatic criticism

Heinz Schenk

Coach Robbie Fleck reminds all it was a different story three weeks ago ... and receives support from Swys de Bruin.

Robbie Fleck (Head Coach) during the DHL Stormers training session and press conference at DHL Newlands Stadium on February 14, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images)

A rather agitated Robbie Fleck lamented overblown criticism of his Stormers team following last week’s 3-40 thrashing at the hands of the Bulls.

The former Bok midfielder and some of his support staff are seemingly again in the firing line, but he insists they’re simply hanging on in terms of keeping their jobs.

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In fact, Fleck was quick to point out the inconsistent attitude adopted by various external parties, including the media, regarding expectations around the side.

“It’s funny how things change in two weeks,” he said.

“This press conference room was very different two or three weeks ago and now suddenly it is a disaster. It’s not. It’s a long campaign, we had a bad day, we need to rectify it and we will look to start doing that on Saturday.”

Indeed, there was much optimism after a stirring if flawed victory over the selfsame Bulls in a pre-season game in the Cape three weeks ago.

Fleck also isn’t worried about his future.

“It remains the status quo. My job is to keep pressure off the team and off myself as well,” the Stormers mentor said.

“Let’s take ourselves two weeks back. We beat the Bulls in the Superhero Sunday match and everyone is cheering and saying what a great performance. Tactically we got it right against them. They came down with a mission and we beat them well. Two weeks later, things turn around. They play well tactically and they beat us. Now suddenly there is pressure on the team. There is no pressure on the team.”

Fleck received support in that regard from his direct opponent on Saturday, Lions coach Swys de Bruin.

“The criticism is absolutely over the top,” he said.

“The Bulls are a very strong team at Loftus, and it was an away game for the Stormers. The hype around the result has been too much. It’s only the first game.”

Stormers: Damian Willemse, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Damian de Allende, SP Marais, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Jano Vermaak, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), JD Schickerling, Chris van Zyl, Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Ali Vermaak. Bench: Scarra Ntubeni, Corne Fourie, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Jaco Coetzee, Herschel Jantjies, Josh Stander, Dan du Plessis.

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