Mains content with Cats progress
March 5, 2000
Cats coach Laurie Mains was clearly a happy man on Saturday evening as he looked forward to leading his squad on their trip to familiar territory in Australasia.
"It's nice to have two down and two wins as we embark on a tour. It means we can have a go at it," he said of the four-week sojourn, commencing on Sunday evening.
Unfortunately, Mains had to face up to the possibility that Springbok centre Japie Mulder, who left the field with an ankle injury in only the third minute, might not be among the travelling party.
"I don't know, but there'll be an assessment later," he said in reply to a question about whether Mulder would be on the plane to Sydney. "It doesn't look good, but it's too early to say."
Mains and skipper Andre Vos both conceded too many mistakes had been made.
"I think we became somewhat frustrated with our mistakes," said the coach, "but then we have to credit the opposition for their pressure defence, which contributed to those errors. I'm hopeful we can tidy up our mistakes, because when we got our pattern going we really looked good. Our two tries were peerless," he said.
"Unforced errors crept in at the end and we put ourselves under pressure again, but we'll encounter those conditions in New Zealand," said Vos, referring to the wet pitch after a torrential storm and the steady rain in the second period.
Mains admitted the rain had forced a change in the Cats' game plan. "We wanted to play the ball a little wider, but eventually we agreed to get out there and keep it simple for a start." He added that the 25-minute delay had affected his side, who "took 15 minutes to get into the game".
Given the comments from Stormers coach Alan Solomons, the home side were more disciplined in sticking to an agreed pattern. "We played well for the opening 20 minutes, then decided 'now we're going to start playing rugby from anywhere and everywhere'.
Both the Cats tries came from ball we turned over when we were trying to play deep in our own 22.
"We made far too many mistakes. In the first five line-outs, we lost three balls, which is unacceptable at this level," added Solomons.
He was also faced with some injury worries, particularly over Springbok centre Robbie Fleck, who was taken off late in the first half after taking a knock, apparently to the head. Solomons said Fleck would be "assessed by a neurologist on Monday".
Captain Corne Krige also took a knock to the knee and wanted to come off late in the match, only to discover that all the forward replacements had been used. "He seems all right," was Solomons' initial assessment.