Cape Town – Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck praised his team for the guts they showed to close out an historic victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
The Stormers showed tremendous character under pressure to hold out for a 13-8 victory – the first Super Rugby victory by any South African team in Argentina and their fourth from five matches this season.
They now head into a well-deserved bye week as the top-placed South African team in the competition, with their next fixture against the Sunwolves at Newlands on Friday, April 8.
Fleck said that while the performance was not the most polished, he was impressed with the resolve his side showed to deny a highly motivated Jaguares team in front of their home crowd.
“The guys showed a lot of guts and the fact that we can win ugly away from home in a hostile environment is very good,” Fleck told the Stormers’ official website.
“It was a bit ugly in the second half, but from our point of view a very good first half. The plans that we put in place were pretty clinical and they got us up to that lead. We should have converted on a few more opportunities which would have put some space between the two teams.
“You have got to give credit to the Jaguares, they really came at us and put us under some immense pressure, but the side showed massive character to hold out,” he said.
The Stormers coach said that while there is room for improvement in their game, the team will take great confidence from securing the historic win.
“From a defensive point of view it was disappointing, credit to the Jaguares for the way that they played. There were just too many one-on-one missed tackles for our liking, but in saying that there was massive character from the team and we scrambled really well to keep them out.
“For us to win here was a massive effort, we made history as the first Stormers side to win here and it was a tough trip.
“We didn’t play particularly well, our scrum wasn’t good in the second half but you have got to give the team credit because they hung in there,” he said.
The victory puts the Stormers in a comfortable position at the top of Africa Conference One, which Fleck says is crucial in the context of the season.
“If you asked me three months ago if I wanted four wins out of our first five games I would have taken it, it was massively important for us to get off to a good start in terms of the confidence of the squad.
“We have played against what were just about two Test sides in the Brumbies with a lot of Wallabies there and the Jaguares with a lot of internationals there, and we have come away with wins in those two games.
“The team now understands that they can beat some of the best sides in the competition,” he said.
Looking ahead to the next fixture against the Sunwolves, Fleck said that there is still a lot of hard work to be done in order to reach their potential.
“We have got a long way to go, and we have got a lot of work to do. The boys deserve their rest and we will take it easy this week, but it is important that we put in a really good performance against the Sunwolves, we have got to make it a convincing performance,” he added.