Stormers ready to go Lion hunting ahead of NZ tour

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:00

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers do not want to lose any momentum before they head to New Zealand for a tough three-match tour.

The Cape side, who have dazzled at times with an expansive style this season, are one of two unbeaten teams left in this year's Super Rugby tournament and they are currently at the top of the combined Super Rugby standings after their impressive 34-26 win over the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday.

The Stormers play the Lions next at Newlands in a mouthwatering South African derby and another big win will set them up nicely before their matches against the Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders in New Zealand.  

"I think we have been playing a really good brand of rugby this year," said Stormers centre Daniel du Plessis.

"I think the challenge for us against the Chiefs was to keep playing that brand of rugby and just not go back into our shells. That is what we did really well last weekend and I believe the guys can take that forward for the next few games. 

"It [Lions match] is the last game before we go on tour and it is really important for us to go on a high to New Zealand and I believe the boys can do that."

Du Plessis and EW Viljoen have formed a good partnership in the midfield for the Stormers over the past few weeks and last weekend's clash against the Chiefs presented them with their biggest challenge of the season so far.

The duo came up against All Blacks Stephen Donald and Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield and it was an experience that Du Plessis believes will put them in good stead ahead of their next few matches. 

"It was our first time playing against New Zealand teams and I am sure it was for other guys as well," Du Plessis added.

"We did have a few youngsters in the team and it was a bit of a change for us. They [Chiefs] played a high-tempo game and that is what we expected. 

"They tested us quite a lot - to pull it through and come out with the win was really good for our confidence and a great experience. We will take a lot out of that, especially for EW and myself."

The Lions also possess quality players across the paddock and a name that will attract Du Plessis' attention is Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Du Plessis and Janse van Rensburg will go head-to-head in the midfield at Newlands if things go to plan and both are selected.

"He [Janse van Rensburg] is a really good player. He got his Bok cap towards the end of last year, which he deserved - he had a great season last year and obviously for me it is a huge challenge if I start in the 12 position again. 

"We had them [Lions] in the pre-season games and he was really tough. They have a good backline and they play a similar brand of rugby to the New Zealand teams, so luckily, we faced that last weekend and we had a little taste before we play them. 

"It should be a good challenge for us and it should be a good challenge for me and I am looking forward to it," said Du Plessis.

By Warren Fortune

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Fri, 23 March 2018
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Connacht v Edinburgh 19h35 Sportsground
Dragons v Cheetahs 19h35 Rodney Parade
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 19h35 Scotstoun
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4