The DHL Stormers are looking to make the most of the run of seven consecutive home games they have coming up in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
Having gone down 19-17 against Connacht in Galway on Saturday after leading for most of the match, the DHL Stormers return to Cape Town this week to prepare for a tantalising home run.
Currently in ninth place on the combined standings and second in the South African Shield, just two log points behind the Cell C Sharks, the DHL Stormers will be aiming to climb up into quarterfinal and Champions Cup qualification territory over the next two months.
Starting with their clash with Zebre Parma at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Sunday, March 13, the DHL Stormers will then host Cardiff, Ulster, Vodacom Bulls, Glasgow Warriors, Ospreys and Leinster at DHL Stadium, before ending the league phase of the season against Scarlets in Wales.
While frustrated with the narrow defeat against Connacht, Head Coach John Dobson said that his team are looking forward to making the most of home advantage in the coming weeks.
“Give this team the right conditions at home, we are looking forward to the home run.
“I don’t think this loss has dented our momentum or belief for one second. There is a lot to work on, but it has not affected who we are.
“We will have a few players like Warrick Gelant, Dan du Plessis, Deon Fourie and Adre Smith back.
“We want to go back to how we were playing in those local derbies, it is an attractive sort of rugby which is how we want to play,” he said.
Looking at the game against Connacht, Dobson said that injury disruptions and the challenge of adapting to the cold and windy conditions played a role, but they are clear on which areas need work before they play again.
“Between our training session on the Tuesday and the start of the second half we had lost Warrick Gelant, Dan du Plessis, Deon Fourie and Adre Smith, so that was pretty disruptive.
“We were left diappointed with some of our defence in the second half and we played more rugby in the second half, especially at the end which showed potential.
“The jump from a series of local derbies to a northern hemisphere game was always going to require some adaptation and maybe we weren’t sharp enough there,” he said.
DHL Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff said that there is real excitement among the team for the run of home games coming up against European opposition.
“We can’t allow this to dent our confidence, coming home and having six home games is an opportunity to show the northen hemisphere sides what we are capable of on home soil, which is quite exciting.
“We will have a hard look at this game where we made some crucial errors in the second half and our discipline let us down.
“We will fix that over the next two weeks and then look forward to taking on Zebre back at home and see where we can capitalise,” he added.