For Hacjivah Dayimani, playing for the DHL Stormers means more than just representing a rugby team. He and his teammates will be going out to make Cape Town and the Faithful around the world smile in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship semifinal at DHL Stadium on Saturday.
A record crowd of 44 109 supporters turned up to make the quarterfinal against the Vodacom Bulls a memorable one.
Dayimani hopes to see similar support in what could be the last home game of the season at DHL Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s so beautiful to see. A few years ago just before Covid, the stadiums felt empty and now people are rushing to watch us play. Our main goal is to make Cape Town smile.
“The people of Cape Town love rugby so much that even the car guard is telling you to please win because he bought tickets for his family to come watch. In other words, it’s bigger than rugby, it’s bigger than me and you and that’s what we as the DHL Stormers players play for.
“The amount of DHL Stormers jerseys you see at the taxi rank or in the city shows you the mission we are busy with. That’s the main reason we decided to step up last season. We give our people a reason to come and watch us play. The DHL Stormers represent the diversity South Africa has.”
Dayimani was among the try-scorers when the DHL Stormers secured a home semifinal by beating the Vodacom Bulls in the quarterfinal at the DHL Stadium.
For the first time this year, the DHL Stormers were able to field the back row of Evan Roos, Dayimani and Deon Fourie that was so influential in last season’s drive to the Vodacom URC title.
Through various stages of the season, at least one of the three has been unavailable due to either Springbok commitments or injury.
Prior to facing the Vodacom Bulls, the last time that back row combination started a Vodacom URC match together was in the October clash against Edinburgh in Cape Town.
“It’s been a while since the trio has been on the same field at the same time so it’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Dayimani. “We all offer something different on the field and that’s what makes us click.
“When each guy does his circus act effectively it makes a massive difference on the field and against the Vodacom Bulls there were glimpses of it.”
Connacht will present a tough opponent for the DHL Stormers in the semifinal. The previous meeting came in the opening round of the season in Stellenbosch, where Dayimani submitted a man-of-the-match performance to help the DHL Stormers claim a bonus-point win.
However, after watching Connacht produce a major upset and stun second-ranked Ulster in Belfast last week, Dayimani knows better than to underestimate the Irish side.
“We expect a totally different battle to what we got in Stellenbosch,” said Dayimani. “We’ve seen what Connacht is capable of doing just by watching the Ulster game.
“We don’t expect an easy game, in fact there’s no game this season where we’ve underestimated our opponents. Every game we’ve gone into with the mindset to win.
“Our mission from the beginning of the season and our mission now hasn’t changed,” Dayimani adds. “It doesn’t matter which player wears which jersey. All that matters is, when you wear the DHL Stormers jersey, you are aligned with our mission.
“We are willing to do anything and everything to win this URC title and our main mission is Connacht. That’s all we are talking about and after last week we are wary of what they are capable of.”