Stormers look for a flourish



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The Stormers are not in a charitable mood and will be looking to win their remaining two home games in order to finish in the top seven in the Super 14 competition.

That was the message from coach Kobus van der Merwe as his charges prepare for their match against the Reds from at Newlands on Saturday.

The Stormers surprised their detractors with a stunning victory over the powerful Blues at Newlands the past Saturday and Van der Merwe said afterwards they still have a lot to play for.

“It is important for us to finish well. We have two home games and we certainly are not going to give anything away.

“We still have a lot to play for. We jumped a couple of places on the log and we are still going to see how high we can finish on the log, hopefully within the top seven.”

Captain Luke Watson echoed Watson’s sentiments, saying they want to do well in the remaining matches. And that the Sharks, their opponents in the final match, shouldn’t expect any favours.

“It might come down to our game against the Sharks at Newlands – that they have to beat us to get a home semi. The points are so close at the moment. The top teams are really going to start fighting for points now.

“A local derby is never going to be easy and we are never going to give it up,” insisted the captain.

Reports say that Schalk Burger is set to play against the Reds despite being rumoured, along with Breyton Paulse, to be due for a rest as requested by Springbok coach Jake White.

Another Bok, Joe van Niekerk, is set to return to the starting line-up for only the second time this year, as regular number eight Justin Melck has been suffering from a back strain.

Van Niekerk’s cameo on saturday off the bench impressed Van der Merwe, and the Springbok would be only too happy to grab a starting jersey in a bid to retain the form he last displayed three years ago.

The victory against the Blues is somewhat similar to last year’s shock defeat of the Crusaders – the only game the champions lost.

In that game too, the Stormers were largely discounted ahead of the game, but then demonstrated exactly what they are capable of.

But that victory proved to be a false dawn of sorts after they subsequently went down to the Sharks and the Bulls, and then limped into the beginning of this year’s contest after Western Province had provided some hope after a creditable Currie Cup showing.

The Stormers have not won consecutive games this year, and the clash with the bottom-of-the-log Reds is the perfect opportunity to instill some consistency. That is why a win is all the more crucial.

Last weekend’s performance signified that if the Stormers did manage to capture that elusive consistency, they could be top contenders.

But indeed that is the name of the game in Super rugby – it is a marathon of consistency. And if the Stormers can tail off their season with a couple of wins, they can still end the 2007 Super 14 with a measure of success.


365 Digital

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