Vodacom Stormers coach Allister Coetzee and captain Schalk Burger were very happy after the convincing 38-10 victory over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
They had reason to be. The Cape franchise clinched a home semi-final for the first time since 1999 after finishing second on the points table after the league phase of the competition.
They will face the Waratahs at 19:10 on Saturday at Newlands. The Bulls take on the fourth-placed Crusaders in Soweto in the earlier semi.
Coetzee said he was pleased that the team became the first Stormers side to secure a home semi since 1999. “You cannot compete for the Super 14 trophy if you don’t get to the play-offs.
“So the first goal we set for ourselves this year was to get to the play-offs. A lot of credit should go to the senior players, the whole squad and the management behind me for a job well done thus far.
“In the same breath we haven’t achieved anything yet. This is 5% of what we are aiming for.”
He cautioned that the Waratahs would be a tough nut to crack despite the fact they will be at a disadvantage due to the travel factor. “Like I said previously in the Super 14, like tonight’s game, it will be a typical Super 14 clash.
“It is going to be tough. They are a helluva improved side, a quality side and they showed that today (against the Hurricanes). They have a big pack of forwards and Kurtley Beale was in sublime form today.
“We will be up against a quality side next week. We had them in round 3 and at that stage their loosies might have not adapted to the new interpretation of the breakdown laws, but this will be a different Waratahs side.
“Our challenge is to make sure our players pitch up physically.”
Captain Schalk Burger said it was nice to have a home semi again. “In 2004 we had a semi in Christchurch. It is nice to be on top of the log and to secure a home semi-final, which is fantastic.
“Next week will pose a different challenge. We play a Waratah team that is in good form like the coach said. We will take tonight and tomorrow to relax and then it is back to work on Monday.”
Coetzee had no injuries to report. “We normally assess the injuries after 24 hours to get a better view of the bumps and bruises. It is always going to be a challenge to make sure we field a 100% fit side.
“I’m happy with the injury position; there are no major concerns there. Two SA teams will be competing for a place in the final with home games.
“Well done to the Bulls. They were the pacesetters throughout the competition and we tried to stay as close to them as possible. Hopefully we can play against them in the finals.”