Crusaders draw a Rubicon moment for Stormers, says coach

Robbie Fleck, head coach of the Stormers chats to media during the 2019 Super Rugby training session for the Stormers ahead of their game against the Crusaders, at Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town in this 16 May 2019 file photo. — Reuters

CAPE TOWN — The decision to take a penalty and settle for a 19-19 draw with the Canterbury Crusaders on Saturday rather than risk the points by going for a win was a Rubicon moment for the Stormers, coach Robbie Fleck predicted.

At 16-19 down with a minute left to play in the Super Rugby clash at Newlands, the Stormers had the option to either kick a penalty and draw the match or kick to touch and go for the win with a try off the catch-and-drive from the lineout.

"I think was a very, very smart decision from Siya at the end there to go for the draw," Fleck said of his captain Siya Kolisi, who instructed flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis to go for the three points.

"If we had gone for the corner and lost that ball, the team would have been deflated and not come away with anything.

"The way the guys played and the effort they put in, they deserved something out of the game.

"It was a Rubicon moment for us in terms of the rest of the campaign and if we can play like that against the best competition in the world, then we can beat most of the teams coming our way in the next couple of weeks."

The Stormers remain bottom of the South African conference but are only six points behind the top placed Bulls and Jaguares.

Three of their four remaining regular season games are at home in Cape Town, giving them plenty of hope that they can still grab a playoff berth.

Fleck said they would now be full of confidence for their next game, at home on Saturday against the Otago Highlanders, following the thrilling, high tempo clash with the nine-times champions.

"It was a very good result for us," he added. "That's the best team in the competition for some years now and for us to get something out of it, is massive positive for us."

"Just the effort that the boys put in, especially on defense, just showed the character of the group and the fight that is still in the side.

"We could have won it. It was a great contest."— Reuters