Coach Robbie Fleck believes the Stormers can beat the Sharks on Saturday and end a ‘disappointing’ campaign on a positive note. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Stormers currently sit at the foot of the South African conference. The Bulls have the same number of log points (25) at present, as well as the same number of wins (five) and the same points-difference (minus 44).
The Bulls have scored more tries (51) than the Cape franchise, though, and – most importantly in the race to avoid the South African wooden spoon – have two more games to play.
The Stormers have to beat the Sharks at Newlands this Saturday. They will also need the Bulls to lose both of their remaining matches – against the Jaguares in Pretoria and the Lions in Johannesburg – in order to avoid a last-place finish in the conference.
This is the best the Cape franchise can hope for after a shocking season that’s witnessed a series of embarrassing defeats. The Stormers recently sustained inaugural losses to the Sunwolves and Jaguares. They’ve lost 10 out of 15 games thus far.
Coach Robbie Fleck said that a full review of the season will take place at the conclusion of the campaign. He refused to answer questions about the Stormers’ 2018 season at the press conference on Thursday.
‘I’ve not spoken to my board yet,’ Fleck said. ‘That is next week’s problem. For now, I’m focusing on the game against the Sharks.
‘I’ve got one more year on my contract. There is a process that will be followed in terms of the review. I will wait until next week to talk about where we went wrong.’
Fleck did suggest that finishing fourth instead of last in the South African conference would do little to ease the team’s pain.
‘I’d prefer to think about us beating the Sharks and ending the season on a high note,’ he said. ‘It’s been a disappointing season and we want to do well on Saturday. We need to take some confidence and momentum through to next season.
‘The Sharks have been talking in the media about what a big game this is for them in the context of the playoffs. We’re of the same mindset [in that they are desperate for a win]. Pride will be the biggest motivator for us.’
According to fullback Dillyn Leyds, who will win his 50th Stormers cap this Saturday, the Cape side still has plenty to play for in the coming clash.
‘I don’t want to focus on the 50th cap,’ Leyds said. ‘There’s a lot more happening this week than someone getting his 50th cap.
‘There’s a lot riding on this game against the Sharks. Everything hasn’t gone to plan this season, so this is a last chance for us to get things right and give some of the players who are leaving a perfect sendoff.
‘It’s a last chance to show the Newlands faithful that we want to die and play for this [Stormers] jersey. We want to end the season on a good note.’
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