Stormers to raise the bar for Sharks



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The Stormers, after a topsy-turvy season in which their lose-one-win-one-lose-one record ran for nine consecutive rounds, have finally found a semblance of consistency.

Now, with just one match remaining, against the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday, they hope to show a significant improvement to prove that they are better than what their position on the Super 14 table – currently 10th – suggests.

The Stormers’ injured Springbok utility back Jean de Villiers, in a race against time to be fit for the start of the two-match Test series against England later this month, said the team took a collective decision three weeks ago to do something about their lack of consistency.

“After the Bulls game [a 12-49 hammering in Pretoria] we decided we have three games left in which to change things around,” De Villiers told this website.

“We decided [after the loss to the Bulls] that we are going to try and improve as a team and work hard to grow as a team.

“We decided not to look so much at the results, but to look at how we can grow as a team. We wanted needed to learn from our mistakes and improve on those shortcomings.

“The last two games [a 33-20 victory over the Blues and a 37-24 triumph over the Reds] we certainly achieved that goal.

“Now the goal of the team is to build on that this Saturday [against the Sharks].

“I’m convinced the team will do that,” De Villiers said.

Obviously the Sharks, second on the standings and determined to secure a home semi-final by beating the Stormers, will be monumental hurdle to overcome.

But De Villiers is convinced the Stormers have the collective resolve to upstage their compatriots.

“Any team must give themselves a chance, no matter who they play.

“I know the guys will be very positive in this game.

“They will give it a full go, because at the end of the day there are also Springbok places at stake. Every player would like to put his hand up and be in contention for the Bok team.

“No doubt the guys would like to end their season on a winning note at Newlands and there also the fact that we have lost only one game at Newlands this year, so there is pride at stake here.”

De Villiers said the Stormers showed against the Blues, a fortnight ago, that they can overcome top quality sides in the competition.

“The Blues are a real quality side. However, we played well in the last few weeks and showed we can compete with the best.

“Of course the local derbies always have an extra edge in them and we will have to be at our best to beat the Sharks on Saturday.

“However, at the end of the day the pressure is on them, because they have the extra burden of trying to secure a home semi-final, while we can just go out and play to the best of our ability.”

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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