Practice makes perfect for Sacha

PUBLISHED: February 29, 2024

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu says the DHL Stormers’ preparation will be vital for Saturday’s Vodacom URC derby against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria.

The DHL Stormers return to Vodacom URC action this weekend with a north-south derby at Loftus Versfeld.

While plenty has been made of the DHL Stormers’ unbeaten record in local derbies, which stretches back to December 2021, Feinberg-Mngomezulu says the team is keeping a level head as the focus remains on ensuring they are well-prepared for the challenge ahead.

“This week’s preparation, for the North-South derby, is huge,” Feinberg-Mngomezulu said. 

“It’s one of the biggest challenges of the year so it requires massive amounts of focus, confidence and detail. We take our confidence out of the week’s practice so ticking those boxes will be the most important thing for us.”

The DHL Stormers are coming off a short week’s break, which allowed the team to recover from the bumps and bruises after a physical coastal derby against the Hollywoodbets Sharks in Durban.

“Playing week in and week out can be tiring to an extent,” Feinberg-Mngomezulu said.

“So that six or seven days ‘down time’ with family and friends, essentially away from rugby, gives the boys a great chance to re-energise and revitalise for what is a big week of preparation.”

Able to also play at flyhalf and fullback, Feinberg-Mngomezulu enjoyed getting another run at inside centre against the Sharks, alongside fellow youngsters Jurie Matthee and Suleiman Hartzenberg.

“Like I’ve said in the past – I am a DHL Stormers supporter, so playing anywhere at anytime is something I will cherish and try make the most of, whether it’s in the number 12 jersey or anywhere else,” he said.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu wasted little time in picking up where he left off in his return from a short spell on the sidelines, setting up hooker Joseph Dweba’s opening try with a wonderfully executed crossfield kick to winger Ben Loader.

“Those attacking kicks are things we work extremely hard at, especially with [kicking coach] Gareth Wright,” Feinberg-Mngomezulu explained. “They’re not flukes and they certainly aren’t out of our framework.

“All credit to our coaches. Along with us, they will identify certain spatial opportunities during the week. That makes our job much easier – we just need to go out and execute.”

The DHL Stormers have an excellent recent record when playing at altitude, opening the 2023-24 campaign with a thrilling win against the Emirates Lions.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu expects the conditions to present an extra challenge as the DHL Stormers look to continue climbing the Vodacom URC table.

“Winning at altitude is always a demanding physical task but also mental,” he said.

“Planning and executing how and where we want to play whilst conserving energy is what will separate us. We’re a team that doesn’t go away, even when we’re in dark places, so altitude is something that we’ll take head-on.”