The DHL Stormers are embracing the challenge of being the last team the British and Irish Lions will face before the first Test against the Springboks.
It has been a week unlike any other for the DHL Stormers, staying in a hotel in Cape Town in a strict bubble ahead of their encounter with the visitors at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
DHL Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman said that the team have been extra careful in the way they interact, even within the bubble, to do everything within their power to ensure that the game on Saturday goes ahead.
“It has been quite a strict bubble, we have been testing every single day. From the hotel we go straight to DHL Newlands to train and haven’t come into contact with any people from the public. Even the hotel staff are living-in and getting tested.
“Everyone has been disciplined, the players don’t hang around in each others’ rooms to minimise close contacts if there is a positive. We even do virtual meetings, we really want to see that this match happens and whatever we can do that is in our control we will do that,” he said.
Snyman said that given their match against the visiting side is the last one before the Tests, they are expecting a star-studded British and Irish Lions team to run out at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
“Looking at the team they selected to play SA ‘A’ there are a few big names that you can see might come in on Saturday against us. It is an honour and a privilege and we definitely will be tested because they want to make sure they get their final preparations right before the Test series.
“We are happy to step up and see if we can give them a good challenge,” he said.
The DHL Stormers assistant coach acknowledged that the British and Irish Lions have the firepower to punish you from anywhere, which means that the home team will have to be on top of their game for the full 80 minutes.
“The Lions are different opposition, they are international players and don’t have any weaknesses on the park, from one to 15 they are some of the best players in the world. So we are not under the illusion that it is just another game, it is a massive game for all of us.
“It is an international team, so you can’t allow them breathing space, if you make one small mistake they will definitely punish you, so we need to be sharp in all aspects.
“They have shown that if you concede a turnover they are dangerous and they have got threats around the park, they don’t play one style of rugby, they can go through the middle or find kick-space in behind you,” he explained.
Despite the challenges they face, the DHL Stormers are looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.
“It has been good for the team to be together, we have had some time to chat through things, especially after the start of the Carling Currie Cup. We have had four games to review and see where we are as a team.
“It is quite weird to feel like you are on tour in your own city, but it has been nice to go out and train at DHL Newlands every day. The vibe and the energy in the group has been great so it has been a good few days,” Snyman added.
The DHL Stormers will play in a limited edition heritage jersey on Saturday. You can get your own replica of this once-off by ordering from stormersshop.co.za or blksport.co.za.