Stormers are a 'world-class' side says Marais

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 04:59

REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes that the Stormers have the potential to challenge for the 2017 Super Rugby title - even if they are forced to play a knock-out fixture in New Zealand. Josh Isaacson reports.

The Stormers outscored the Bulls by six tries to five en route to a 41-33 victory at Loftus in Pretoria on Saturday.

The result did not have any impact on the final standings and play-off permutations as it was already confirmed before the match had kicked off that the Stormers will host New Zealand team, the Chiefs in a Super Rugby quarterfinal in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Stormers head into the play-offs full of confidence after back-to-back victories over the Sunwolves and the Bulls.

Speaking to reporters after the game on Saturday, Marais said that the Stormers have good enough players to challenge any team in the Super Rugby tournament.

"I think they [Stormers] a good side, world class players, Eben [Etzebeth] and Pieter-Steph [du Toit] and them, I think they got a good balanced side," commented Marais.

If the Stormers manage to beat the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday, a potential trip to New Zealand awaits against the Crusaders in the semifinals.

The Stormers lost all three of their games against the Crusaders (24-57), Highlanders (14-57) and the Hurricanes (22-41) on their New Zealand tour during the 2017 Super Rugby regular season.

However, Marais explained that the experience of playing against New Zealand teams in their own home ground during the regular season will make it easier for the Stormers to play a semifinal fixture in New Zealand.

"It's always going to be difficult, they play one at home [quarterfinal against the Chiefs on Saturday] and then maybe away against a New Zealand side, but they are a good enough side and I think even the touring will be easier for them.

"Robbie [Fleck] said to me they got a bit hammered on tour, but they've been there [New Zealand] now, so they know what to expect, so I think they will do good," said Marais.

The last time the Stormers played the Chiefs in Cape Town was in a Round Seven Super Rugby this season and on that occasion the Stormers outscored the Chiefs by four tries to three en route to a 34-26 victory.

The last time the two teams did battle in a Super Rugby quarterfinal was in 2016 and on that occasion the Chiefs outscored the Stormers by eight tries to three in a one sided 60-21 victory for the Chiefs at Newlands Stadium.

2017 Super Rugby Quarterfinal Draw:
QF1: Lions [1] versus Sharks [8]
QF2: Crusaders [2] versus Highlanders [7]
QF3: Stormers [3] versus Chiefs [6]
QF4: Brumbies [4] versus Hurricanes [5]
Quarterfinal Match Schedule (all times local):
Friday, July 21: Brumbies v Hurricanes, Canberra - 19:35
Saturday, July 22: Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch - 19:35
Saturday, July 22: Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg - 14:30
Saturday, July 22 Stormers v Chiefs, Cape Town - 17:00
Semifinal Draw:
Pre-determined draw as follows (highest ranked team to host):
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF4
SF2: Winner QF2 v Winner QF3

By Josh Isaacson

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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