Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has dismissed talk that success in the Super 14 could be dependent on Saturday’s game.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that you’ll probably have to wait until the knockout stage of this year’s Super 14 before witnessing another match as big as Saturday’s one at Newlands.
That is when South Africa’s two top sides – the Sharks and Stormers – meet in a titanic clash that can potentially define each one’s campaign.
The Stormers, in particular, are under huge pressure to win their home games because they have a murderous tour with games against the Crusaders, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Waratahs and Highlanders to come.
However, Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has dismissed talk that success in the Super 14 could be dependent on Saturday’s game.
“There will be a lot of hype about the game, and yes, both teams would like to win and we have home advantage. Fortunately last year showed us that you can come back. We lost out first three games and after that suffered only one defeat,” said Erasmus.
“With that I’m not making excuses in advance. We will be very disappointed if we don’t win. But our focus will always be on the next game.
“For now it’s the Sharks, but we won’t give up if we lose. Thereafter the focus will be on the Reds. Each game is as important as the one before.
“One defeat won’t be the end of the world because we will lose at some stage.” Fijian wing Sireli Naqelevuki is the only player not expected to be available for selection after injuring his ribs. Erasmus will make a call on him today.
Nick Koster, Conrad Jantjes and Joe Pietersen are the leading candidates to replace Naqelevuki if he cannot play. It’s difficult to say how the Stormers and Sharks measure up to one another for this clash of the titans.
The Sharks will play with the confidence of a team that won the Currie Cup, but the Super14 is an entirely different matter.
While Western Province finished only fifth in the Currie Cup, it masks the fact that the Stormers and WP at full strength under the coaching of Erasmus and Allister Coetzee have become difficult to beat at Newlands.
Last year the Stormers lost 10-12 to the Sharks in Durban.Tweet