History not on Stormers' side

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:08

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers are determined to make history when they face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Capetonians have never beaten the seven-time champions in New Zealand and will enter the match on the back of their first defeat of the season - after they went down 16-29 to the Lions in Cape Town last Saturday.

The Crusaders, on the other hand, are still unbeaten in this year's tournament and were sitting pretty at the top of the combined Super Rugby standings before the Hurricanes' win over the Brumbies on Friday.

"We are playing against a team full of All Blacks and the Stormers franchise has never won in Christchurch," said Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck.

"It is a big challenge for this young group and I am pleasantly surprised by the vibe in the group. We enjoy touring as a group and we are looking forward to this game."

Fleck believes that new Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has restored some traditions that have made the Christchurch team such a force in the past.

"What makes them great is obviously their history," Fleck added. "These guys have been champs so many times. It is their culture that is so strong and Scott Robertson, who is a former player, has definitely brought those traditional aspects back to their game.

"They are strong up front and they have a strong kicking game. They have a pretty simple game plan, but it is effective.

"It is a team that is made up of All Blacks and it has always been like that. They bring through good young players and their culture is just really strong.

"It is a big challenge for us, but that is what we are excited about. It is one for the history books and if we can break that duck then it will be awesome. It is a big challenge for a lot of our youngsters, who are playing against seasoned All Blacks. There is no bigger game, so we are looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, Fleck has made a few changes to his team for the upcoming clash.

One of the changes sees Dillyn Leyds move to his preferred position of fullback in the absence of Sarel Marais.

"He [Marais] has been struggling with his groin over the last two weeks and the best option for us going forward was to give him a complete break this week so that he can be fit and ready again for the rest of the tour.

"He is not even training at the moment and is just doing a bit of rehab.

"With Dillyn, maybe it [fullback] is his preferred position and he had an outstanding game against the Sunwolves there a couple of weeks back, so it was an easy switch for us in that regard," said Fleck.

Pieter-Steph du Toit's switch from lock to blindside flank was another glaring change to Fleck's team.

"With Siya [Siyamthanda Kolisi] out with the Bok Management plan, we needed a bit of a ball carrier there at No.7 and obviously with the set-piece threat that the Crusaders present, Pieter-Steph does answer a few questions for us there in that regard," the coach added.

By Warren Fortune

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Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 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