The pressure will be squarely on the Stormers when they kick off their Super 14 campaign at Newlands on February 14 against the Sharks, reckons Johann Muller.
Mike Greenaway, IOL.
The Sharks captain says his team could not have been given a tougher assignment than beating Rassie Erasmus’ super-charged Stormers because the Cape Town side knows only too well the debilitating affect of losing home games at the start of the season.
“They lost their first three games last year and that put them under enormous pressure,” Muller said. “They did very well to recover later on but couldn’t quite make up the lost ground. They obviously will not want a repeat of that bad start. They are going to be incredibly motivated to beat us, and that puts the pressure very much on them.”
This is not to say that the Sharks are not equally interested in victory.
“That is stating the obvious,” says Muller, who on Monday was appointed captain for 2009 by coach John Plumtree.
“What I am saying is that in this extremely tough competition, you have to win your home games if you want to do well, and then you try and pick up as many away points as possible.
“We are hungry to beat them, but as it is an away game we are not under the same pressure as them and we can give it a full go – we will not have their terrible fear of losing and can really give it a crack,” Muller said. “We can’t wait for the game. There is a lot of excitement about the occasion it promises to be.”
The Sharks and Stormers are widely tipped to be South Africa’s best bets for the Super 14 title this year, but Muller says his team will distance itself from the hype. “It is very much something we would like to achieve (the title). I said to John Smit yesterday,’There is just one medal outstanding on your mantlepiece; you have won the World Cup, Tri-Nations and Currie Cup’.”
“But we’re not going to put pressure on ourselves by proclaiming we are going to win the title. Our goal is to play as well as we possibly can each week, and then take it from there.”Tweet