Having trained all week at their base in Auckland, the DHL Stormers have now made their way south to Hamilton in preparation for tomorrow’s opening tour match against the Chiefs.
Backline coach Robbie Fleck admits that he has been delighted by how well the side has adapted to being away from home. “The guys have settled in very well. We have had fairly decent weather apart from one day and today’s captains run at the stadium went excellently. The guys have settled nicely in Auckland and we had a very nice trip down to Hamilton so we are very happy with how things have gone so far.”
This weekend the DHL Stormers welcome back two of their most experienced campaigners in the form of Peter Grant and Bryan Habana and Fleck feels that the two will have a positive effect on the side.
“Bash (Peter Grant) definitely has a calming influence on the team. He has slotted in nicely since his return to training. Lionel Cronje did very well in his place, but Bash’s experience plays a crucial role and he will be running the ship on Saturday.
“Obviously having Bryan back gives us a great deal of experience on the wing, which could be vital against a Chiefs side who can attack you from anywhere. Having both return is a major boost to the team.”
Playing in New Zealand comes with many challenges such as dealing with differing weather conditions and styles of play from the opposition. Fleck, however feels the team are prepared for whatever may come their way.
“The weather forecast is decent for tomorrow night. Hopefully we can continue the way we want to play with ball in hand. We are used to playing in tough conditions from playing at Newlands during the winter months. Our kicking game and our defence will be vital, but we have the game plan to deal with any conditions.
“When you play New Zealand teams overseas, you need to be up for it. Chiefs are a very powerful side and we need to up the physicality once more as a team so that we can play the kind of game that we want to. We set a benchmark against the Sharks and we want to continue in that vein on Saturday.”
With the weather set to be clear, we are in for a cracker on Saturday. Check out the DHL Stormers facebook and twitter feeds for live updates during the big game.