In what will be a milestone appearance for the Stormers star, Deon Fourie seeks to avenge a bitter defeat by the Vodacom Bulls when the two sides meet in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final on Saturday.
Fourie will become only the 10th player to play 100 matches for the Stormers, following in the footsteps of Jean de Villiers, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, Schalk Burger, Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Juan de Jongh, Brok Harris and Peter Grant.
However, Saturday’s clash is a repeat of the 2010 Super Rugby final in Soweto which the Bulls won 25-17 to secure a third title in four seasons.
The Stormers punctured the Bulls’ defence twice for tries, but the Capetonians couldn’t pull clear as Morne Steyn slotted six penalties and converted Francois Hougaard’s first-half try for a personal haul of 20 points.
Fourie, whose red-hot form this season earned him a first Springbok call-up on Saturday, started on the bench in the 2010 clash at Orlando Stadium.
Talking about the Stormers’ date with the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night, the 35-year-old told media: “It was 12 years ago but it always gets stuck in my head … I think it might serve as a bit of motivation.
“In finals, it’s about taking advantage of the one or two chances you get. You have to do the basics well in the 80 minutes. If you make a mistake somewhere, you could lose by getting hit with a try.
“I only think back to 2010 when Francois Hougaard went under our posts after a pass from Fourie du Preez, where our defence system was not in place.
“It was a half a gap they took and that score forced us on the back foot. Such small things can break you in the final.”
Speaking on what would be an incredible achievement with the Stormers, Fourie said: “It’s special, I didn’t think I would get there. I was at 86 matches when I left [to play in France], played 91 matches for Lyon, and then 46 for Grenoble. I just barely reached a few milestones. [100 games for the Stormers] counted among my goals with my return.”
The Bulls overpowered Leinster in a hard-fought 27-26 win in Dublin on Friday to eliminate the defending champions and advance to the URC final.
However, the Stormers swept the Bulls this season, a win at home in March following a last-gasp victory for the Capetonians at Loftus Versfeld earlier in the season.
Fourie added: “We know what we can expect from the Bulls. They’re a very good team and showed it against Leinster on Friday. The key is to deal with the pressure and focus on what we have to do to win.”