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Stormers win over Chiefs a 'tipping point'

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Sunday, April 9, 2017    Getty Images

Determined to show how much they had built on their 21-60 quarter-final loss to the Chiefs last year, the side had fought for each other to get the win.

"It wasn't always in our favour and the Chiefs had us under the pump, but the things we have worked on came through so I am very proud of the guys," he said.

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Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told media after the game the Stormers had probably been shocked at the tempo at which the Chiefs played in last year's game.

"They've clearly made some shifts and really have upped their intensity.

"It was a hell of a spectacle wasn't it? I thought the Stormers were excellent and played their part in a free-flowing game and so did we.

"But they won the battle of the body height and really got under us when they carried, especially around the fringes.

"They have learnt a lot from year, they have better systems and are much fitter.

"We felt that with 20 minutes to go we could run them off their feet, but they scrambled really well and worked hard for each other. There is clearly a lot of character in the group," Rennie said.

Fleck said the result was a boost for the coaching group because it showed they were on the right track.

"What the Kiwi teams have learnt is to play under fatigue and that is something that we still need to learn. There was a bit of growth because we had to play under extreme fatigue," he said.
When the Chiefs poured on the tempo in the last 15 minutes he worried the Stormers would fall off like they did last year but their improved fitness had shown through.

"The biggest thing for me is the growth that the team has shown over the last couple of months, so it was a tipping point for us and we can take a lot of confidence.

"It just shows what is happening within the group, they know it wasn't perfect today but they are fighting hard to each other.

"Just look at the defence at the end there, they were scrambling hard against one of the best attacking teams in the competition and we managed to stop them, so the character at the moment is top notch," he said.

But as always in Super Rugby there is no respite as they host the Lions next week in a true test of South African strength.

"The Lions were finalists last year and are playing some great rugby this year, so it is back to square one on Monday.

"If we want to do well in this competition we are going to have to play like this every week. The guys realise that they have to play at this intensity in every game," he said.

Injury issues were affecting the side but opportunities were being taken by replacements.

"What's happening at the moment is that whoever puts on the jersey is performing, that just shows that we are building capacity within the group. It was a tough week, but for them to put in a performance like that was outstanding, credit to both teams," Fleck said.

After the Lions game, the Stormers face a three-game tour of New Zealand to play the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes.