DHL Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck says his team are looking forward to the challenge of facing the defending Vodacom Super Rugby champions the Crusaders on their home turf in Christchurch on Saturday.
The eight-time champions have a formidable record at home at AMI Stadium, which means that a win on Saturday would be a prize scalp for Fleck’s charges and a huge confidence-booster going forward.
The DHL Stormers’ stated ambition this season was to show that they can challenge the best teams in the competition and for Fleck, there is no better test for his team right now.
“It is a good challenge for our boys, we said at the beginning of the year that we are looking to challenge the top teams in the competition consistently, whether that is at home or away, This match gives us the opportunity to take on the defending champoins in their own back yard and we are looking forward to it,” he said.
Fleck is not expecting to be given an inch by an impressive Crusaders team that has one of the best home records in the competition.
“They are not a team that makes many mistakes, there is nothing fancy about them. It is just good, honest, hard work, they do the basics extremely well, they work incredibly hard for each other and they have got a great culture,” he said.
He pointed to their set-pieces and linespeed on defence as a stand-out features of the Crusaders’ game which the DHL Stormers will have to nullify.
“The Crusaders’ set-piece is very strong, they are well-known for their scrums and their line-outs. They have got a good tight five that looks to put you under pressure in terms of the territory game.
“They have got good linespeed and are probably one of the better organised defensive systems in the competition. It is a big part of what they bring to the game and it is part of their make-up and their culture so that is going to be a challenge for us,” he said.
Fleck knows his team have the opportunity to become the first DHL Stormers outfit to win in Christchurch, but says that his players do not need external factors like that to motivate them once they pull on the jersey.
“The pressure is always there to win, we are the DHL Stormers and we need to perform every week. We put that pressure on ourselves, it is healthy pressure.
“We are going out there to take as many ponts as we can from this tour and we know the challenge we face against the Crusaders in Christchurch but we certainly are up for it,” he said.
Fullback SP Marais took a knock to his knee in training on Thursday and a call on his availability for the game against the Crusaders will be made on Friday.