Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says that his injury-ravaged team is focused on claiming eight log points from the final two rounds. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Jaguares will win the South African conference if they beat the Sharks in Buenos Aires this Saturday. It remains to be seen which of the four South African teams will fill the wildcard slots in the upcoming quarter-finals.
The Stormers are currently at the foot of the conference. They may leapfrog one or two sides, though, if they win their remaining matches against the Sunwolves and Sharks.
The Vodacom Bulls will play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday, while the Lions will host the Hurricanes in Johannesburg on Saturday. While the Stormers should have an eye on all three results, their chances of qualifying may hinge on whether they claim a bonus-point win in the fixture against the Sunwolves.
The Stormers have claimed just one try-scoring bonus point in 14 games this season. The more serious matter, of course, is the number of senior players that have been ruled out by injuries.
The team that fronts the Sunwoves this Saturday boasts a second-string look, and the Cape side may do well just to secure the victory.
‘We can’t look ahead to next week. We have to focus on this game, and we have to focus on securing the win first and foremost,’ said Fleck.
‘We want to get back to where we were in the matches against the Crusaders and Highlanders [the Stormers drew the first game and won the second, before losing to the Lions in Johannesburg]. If we start well and there are no disruptions, we are confident we can get the job done on Saturday.
‘We might need a few other results to go our way. At this point, we will give ourselves a chance of qualifying if we get eight log points. If we pick up a bonus point along the way, even better.’
The Cape side’s defence, as well as its attack will need to be on point this Saturday.
‘The Sunwolves enjoy playing from turnover ball. If you kick poorly they will put you under pressure,’ noted Fleck.
‘We’re not taking anything for granted. They’ve shown that they don’t mind playing away from home, having won in New Zealand and Australia earlier in the season. They haven’t been to Newlands for a while, and they will be hungry to do well.
‘We have to sharpen up defensively. We let ourselves down last week against the Lions, so there’s definitely room for improvement.’
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