The Stormers are not taking anything for granted when they return to United Rugby Championship action against Zebre this weekend, and they aim to be fully prepared when they face arguably the weakest team in the competition.
Zebre are currently rock bottom of the 16-team table, having lost all five of their games to date and with a negative points difference of 109, but Stormers assistant coach Rito Hlungwani insisted they would not take them lightly.
“In terms of preparation we have looked at all the previous URC games and the friendlies that they played before the URC, so that has given us a lot of information and helped us prepare well for them,” explained Hlungwani.
“We have looked at the games they have played, we sort of understand what their DNA is and how they want to play and attack. So in terms of their previous games we have prepared for that, and if they are going to bring anything else I am sure we will be able to adapt.”
The team also welcomes three of their Springboks straight back into the fold, two of whom have yet to play in the URC this season, which will be a big boost for the Stormers.
“Salmaan (Moerat) and Marvin (Orie) were both touring with the Springboks and they’re available for us this weekend,” Hlungwani said.
“Damian Willemse is also available for us, so it’s very good to have Marvin and Damian back as they haven’t been available for us in a while.”
With this being the first home game for the Stormers in the competition, they will be aiming to put in a big showing against Zebre to give their home fans something to cheer about, with a crowd of 2 000 spectators expected to attend the match.
The Stormers’ last URC game, against the Dragons four weeks ago, was their first win of the competition and many of the players will still be fired up from that performance, while a few of the players and some youngsters in the squad were involved in the Toyota Challenge win over the Cheetahs two weeks ago.
“We are quite excited and very happy to be back at the Cape Town Stadium. Everyone is looking forward to running out there and playing in front of our home fans,” Hlungwani said.
“It has been different. we didn’t have much of a pre-season before this competition and now we had that break. We did have the Cheetahs match in between, which helped a bit, and we were able to blood a few of the youngsters and get some good depth around our team.”