De Wet ready for tough battle

PUBLISHED: February 9, 2006

New Vodacom Stormers captain De Wet Barry is preparing for a tough opening Super 14 encounter with the Cats in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Vodacom Stormers, with a new coach and a few new faces in the squad, are not among the bookies’ favourites to reach the semi-finals of the arduous competition.

Barry, however, is not fazed by that and, typically, prefers to be regarded as an underdog.

“Sometimes it’s better to be the underdog, because then you can surprise people. We are setting high expectations for ourselves. We would like to do well again. We want to win every game,” said the tough-tackling centre.

He believes that his side is ready for the physical nature of the game, despite having had only one game together as a team. The Springbok himself didn’t play in that game against the Southern Spears due to knee surgery.

“A lot of work has gone in the gym, and I’m sure the guys are physically prepared to go,” he commented.

The Stormers kick their campaign off with a tough local derby against the Cats, where several individual battles are sure to catch the eye. The pragmatic Barry, however, does not share in the euphoria surrounding local derbies.

“We put too much emphasis on local derbies. It’s not that these aren’t important, but we need to shift our focus to our games with overseas opposition. That’s where we have to perform,” is his take on local derbies.

He is wary of the Cats, although he is of the opinion that the Cheetahs benefited more from the split with the Lions. “We know we have to be at our best to win up there, but we are confident that we can do it.”