Stormers ready to go Lion hunting ahead of NZ tour
Stormers ready to go Lion hunting ahead of NZ tourSHARE
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