Erasmus and De Villers upbeat about Saracens clash


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The Stormers brains trust are upbeat about the playing quality that Saracens will bring to Sunday’s friendly at Newlands (kick-off4pm).


“Saracens are a class team with some awesome international talent and a fantastic coach (Eddie Jones),” said Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus.

“Playing a side well into their season, and at the top of their game provides us with incredible match preparation for the rigours of this year’s Super 14.

“Having only two full warm-up games, we have opted to play a strong side, less our players currently carrying niggles. We’ve had a couple of contact sessions but this fixture will allow us to really test our combinations and see how our off season work translates on the pitch.”

Sunday’s clash against Saracens, will be the first of two Super 14 pre-season outings for the Stormers, who will be against Boland in Wellington at the end of the month.

Saracens who will be captained by All Black line-out supremo Chris Jack, have named a star-studded line-up which includes stand-out players like Cobus Visagie (prop), Wikus van Heerden (flank), Justin Marshall (scrumhalf) and Glen Jackson (flyhalf).

In addition the team will have plenty of reserve strength to call on from the sustitutes’ bench as another squad will be arriving on Saturday evening from France after a European Cup clash on Friday.

Stormers skipper Jean De Villiers said his team wants to build a winning culture ahead of the upcoming Super 14 season.

He said Sunday’s match would provide his side with an excellent test. “For the Stormers, going into the Super 14 season, it is great to get a warm-up match like that,” said De Villiers.

“We are bracing ourselves for a tough game. It doesn’t matter who they will put on the field, it will be a tough challenge for our team. “It is important that we get into that winning habit ahead of the start of the Super 14 programme, but we’re not too worried about the result.

“We should not worry too much about the result at this stage. We have to see to it that the stuff that we’ve been working on in training comes off in Sunday’s match situation. Hopefully if we do that well, we will get the win the match.”

Erasmus has retained the bulk of last season’s squad which failed to secure a play-off berth at the end of last season. This will be his second year at the helm, and after he subjected the squad to an intensive off-season training, expectations are high for his squad to clinch a play-off place this season.

Erasmus has also rubbished media speculation that Leinster prop CJ Van de Linde could be his way to Cape Town, after rumours appeared in the British media that the Springbok strongman was unhappy at the Irish club.

Sapa –

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