Jean says victory is first prize

PUBLISHED: May 2, 2008

Vodacom Stormers captain Jean de Villiers says a victory is the team’s main objective in their Super 14 match against the Brumbies on Saturday.

The bonus point would be just that – a bonus. The Stormers tackle the Australian franchise at Newlands on in a match that could kill off the loser’s hope of a semifinal berth.

The top part of the Super 14 points’ table is very congested and bonus points could yet determine which three teams would join the high-riding Crusaders in the play-offs.

But De Villiers said the team would not be under a lot of pressure to clinch a bonus point on Saturday. They didn’t get a bonus point against the Highlanders last week and the centre said his side learnt a lesson from that experience.

“What we focus on is just winning our games. That’s what we did last week and even if we didn’t get the bonus point we were happy,” said the big midfielder.

“If we can get the win this week again we will be happy. If we get the bonus point that is a bonus. We will obviously go out and play our game and stick to our structures.

“If we do that well and execute that well than hopefully we can get a bonus point as well.”

De Villiers acknowledged that bonus points are important, but said the focus would be on winning the clash first.

“Yes, but we still first of all we have to win our games. After we’ve done that a bonus point comes into play. As long as we win our games we should be good.”

Commenting on Brumbies coach Laurie Fischer’s viewpoint that the loser on Saturday can kiss their semifinal hopes goodbye, De Villiers was adamant that the Stormers are not looking too far ahead.

“I don’t know, maybe for them it really is a crunch game. You don’t want to think too much about semifinals like we’ve been saying for a while now, but it comes closer and closer and become more of a reality.

“If we start thinking about that and putting all our energy into that we won’t make it. That is why all the energy is going into preparing for the game, doing our structures and executing it.

“If we can do that right the semifinal will take care of itself. Maybe we learnt a lesson last weekend by trying to hard to get the bonus point.

“Like we said after the game it was good to be able to learn from that mistake and still win, so hopefully we wont make the same mistake and stay focused on the task.”

De Villiers expects strong Brumbies centre Stirling Mortlock to provide a huge challenge to the defence.

“I expect a lot from him. With Motlock back they have a lot of experience.

“He is a very experienced campaigner and I’m sure they would rely a lot on him to give them go-forward ball and it is our task to stop him.”