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De Villiers issues Stormers warning to Crusaders

Stormers captain Jean De Villiers

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Article Published: Friday 29 March 2013|

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Stormers captain Jean De Villiers has warned the Crusaders that while they respect their opponents past achievements they will not be in awe of the seven-time champions at Newlands.

The Crusaders have always run out at Newlands with an air of invincibility, which is helped by the strong support the team recieves from some of the locals.

"We have respect for what the Crusaders achieved in the past, but when you hit the grass, it's you versus them," De Villiers said in the build-up to the match.

"The respect will be there, but at 10 past seven on Saturday, that all goes out of the window."

The Stormers have not shown any signs of uneasiness after their tight five were robbed of the services of powerhouses Tiaan Liebenberg and Steven Kitshoff, and De Villiers felt the pack, as a unit, had been superb.

De Villiers singled out lock Andries Bekker as the stand-out performer.

"I have to compliment the pack and those who do their jobs around him (Bekker), to maybe free him up a bit and allow him to run with the ball a bit more," the skipper said.

"You need (fellow lock) De Kock Steenkamp to hit 20 to 30 rucks for him (Bekker) to do that, and the pack, as a whole, has done well.

"Hopefully he can just stay fit and we can keep him on the park and get as much game time as we can from him. We have seen how instrumental he has been in our performances."

The Crusaders arrived in the Mother City without three of their stalwarts -- Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Richie McCaw -- but the tourists have a superb success rate at Newlands, even when fielding substantially weakened teams in the past.

Containing the form of Bekker, according to Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, would be key to their success.

"We are really confident this young team will step up," Blackadder said.

"He (Bekker) is their talisman and if you can put pressure on him you can pressurise the whole team."

 
 
 
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