DHL Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff praised the fans for creating an ‘absolutely electrifying’ atmosphere at DHL Stadium in the North-South clash with the Vodacom Bulls.
The DHL Stormers stepped up when it counted and scored three tries in the second half to propel themselves to a convincing 37-27 win against their old rivals, which saw them move to the top of the South African Shield and second place in the overall standings.
Kitshoff said that the crowd of 30 003 supporters made a huge difference.
“I didn’t expect to have 30 000 people two days before Christmas. You could see the flags and hear how loud it was, the atmosphere at DHL Stadium was absolutely electrifying,” he said.
While there was a lot of hype in the build-up to the game, Kitshoff said that they key for his team was to stay calm and focused.
“The way the game was spoken about and built up we knew it was going to be personal. Looking at the log and how tight it was then getting an opportunity at home. The way we prepared and built up to the game this week was exceptional. The mentality of the boys and the clamness they showed, the way we spoke before the game was clear messages,” he said.
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the support of the injured players showed the positive environment within the squad.
“We are trying to create a special group here with a sense of belonging and playing for the people of Cape Town. Salmaan Moerat has been at every training session and offered to help with line-outs while on crutches.
“That is probably the biggest satisfaction I get, when I see the likes of Ernst van Rhyn, Gary Porter and Ruhan Nel congratulating the guys who are playing in their places. Herschel Jantjies on the side of the field basically coaching Paul de Wet the whole game. That is what we are trying to do,” he said.
While extremely happy with the win, Dobson knows that the match against the Emirates Lions on Saturday will be just as important.
“We know full-well that we will undo all of our hard work if we don’t put in a good performance next week,” he said.
The Emirates Lions were the last team to beat the DHL Stormers at home, so the target will be on extending their unbeaten streak at DHL Stadium even further.
“We need this last Emirates Lions win to make it the whole of 2022 (unbeaten at home). So we are going to put a lot into it on New Year’s Eve against the team that last beat us quite convincingly here. That is going to be quite a big driver for us as a coaching group this week,” Dobson added.