Can Stormers break play-off hoodoo?

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:49

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers go into their Super Rugby quarterfinal clash against Chiefs with a poor record when it comes to play-offs. Warren Fortune reports.

The Cape Town side has won just one play-off match from eight in their entire Super Rugby history so far, which was a 25-6 victory over the Waratahs way back in 2010 when the tournament was still in its Super 14 guise. They then went on to lose the final 17-25 to the Bulls.

In the old Super 12 tournaments, the Stormers lost in the semifinals in 1999 against the Highlanders at Newlands and in 2004 against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

In 2011, which was the first season of the 15-team format, the Stormers were beaten 10-29 by the Crusaders at Newlands in the semis and a year later the Cape side got knocked out at the same stage against the Sharks (19-26) at Newlands after they finished on top of the overall standings.   

More recently, the Stormers were hammered 21-60 in the last eight against the Chiefs at Newlands last year and a year before that the Stormers lost to a travelling Brumbies side 19-39 in the qualifying finals.

"We are not going to think about that too much," said Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck.

"We just got to do what we are doing at the moment and it is what it is in terms of the history. We've struggled in quarterfinals, we haven't won them, but this is a new team, a new campaign. 

"We just got to focus on us and not worry about the pressures of winning a quarterfinal at home. 

"We actually spoke about the same thing last year in the press conferences and amongst the team. Everyone brings it up - the Stormers don't get through. 

"We will get through this time - that has got to be our focus. That's what we believe in as a group and we know that there are pressures, we know that the fans want us to progress and there is a lot of pressure from critics on us in quarterfinals, but we can't dwell on that. We just got to keep focussing on what we got to do this weekend."

The Stormers have already played the Chiefs this year with Fleck's side bagging an impressive 34-26 victory in Cape Town.

"There were lots of positives from that game. We got a few things right in that game and they certainly did exploit us in one or two areas

"We always got to look back and learn from previous games, but this [quarterfinal] is a one-off. They've got some big players back and they are a near full-strength side - so are we -  so we are certainly looking forward to it.

"They certainly will be up for it. They showed what they can do at Newlands a year ago, but we showed what we could do a couple of months ago. We got to take a lot of belief and confidence from that performance and take that forward into this game," Fleck added.

By Warren Fortune

There are currently no matches being played
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
Sat, 28 October 2017
Treviso v Edinburgh 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham
Saracens v London Irish 14h00 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Wasps 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Sharks v Western Province 14h00 Kings Park, Durban
Ulster v Leinster 17h15 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Cheetahs 19h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28