DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee will be using his team’s tough 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby draw as a positive.
The 2011 and 2012 SA Conference winners were on Monday handed a challenging draw ahead of next season. (CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL DRAW!)
They will start the 2014 Super Rugby competition with a bye, before facing the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, February 22.
The DHL Stormers’ first home game will take place against the Hurricanes on Friday, February 28, before they head abroad for four weeks – which will see them take on the Crusaders, the defending champion Chiefs, the Brumbies and the Reds on successive weekends in March.
Coetzee told www.stormers.com: “It’s a tough draw, but we will take what we’ve been given.
“We will look that first bye week as a positive,” added the DHL Stormers boss. “The last time we had a first-round bye was in 2011 and we finished second on the log and got a home semifinal.
“That bye first up gives you a break after your pre-season matches and it helps with your pre-tournament planning and match sharpness and, possibly, resting any injuries leading into the tournament.
“It also allows you to have a look at your opponents and to see how the other teams are shaping up.”
After their four-match tour, the DHL Stormers will take on the Waratahs in Cape Town on Saturday, April 5. They will play five home games in April and May, followed by two more home fixtures in July – against the Bulls and the Sharks – to bring the curtain down on their 2014 league campaign.
“It’s a tough tour. Those are all quality teams that could beat you at home, nevermind away from home,” said Coetzee.
“But, like I said, it’s what we’ve been given and even though our focus right now is purely on the Absa Currie Cup – and its business-end – we will take what we’ve been given.”
The DHL Stormers’ 2014 Super Rugby fixtures:
All kick-off times local (SA time); home games in bold
February 14/15/16 – BYE
Saturday, February 22: v Lions, Johannesburg – 19h10
Friday, February 28: v Hurricanes, Cape Town – 19h10
Saturday, March 8: v Crusaders, Christchurch – 08h35
Friday, March 14: v Chiefs, Hamilton – 08h35
Saturday, March 22: v Brumbies, Canberra – 10h40
Saturday, March 29: v Reds, Brisbane – 10h40
Saturday, April 5: v Waratahs, Cape Town – 19h10
April 11/12/13 – BYE
Saturday, April 19: v Lions, Cape Town – 17h05
Saturday, April 26: v Cheetahs, Bloemfontein – 17h05
Saturday, May 3: v Highlanders, Cape Town – 15h00
Saturday, May 10: v Bulls, Pretoria – 19h10
Saturday, May 17: v Force, Cape Town – 17h05
Saturday, May 24: v Cheetahs, Cape Town – 17h05
Saturday, May 31: v Sharks, Durban – 19h10
Saturday, July 5: v Bulls, Cape Town – 17h05
Saturday, July 12: v Sharks, Cape Town 19h10
Super Rugby Qualifiers:
Friday/Saturday, July 18/19
Super Rugby Semifinals:
Friday/Saturday, July 25/26
Super Rugby Finals:
Saturday, August 2