Vodacom Stormers captain Schalk Burger said there was a lot of excitement in the side about Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 semifinal againt the Waratahs at Newlans, but added that the players realise it was just another game.
The match is already a sell-out and more than 49 000 supporters are ready to cheer Schalk and his boys on to hopefully a first-ever final.
“Obviously there is a lot of excitement. There is not really a different mood. It is just another game where we have to go out and play to the best of our ability with a bit of added pressure. I haven’t noticed much change in the squad,” commented the flank.
Burger, Ricky Januarie, Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana all have World Cup experience to draw on, but Burger was pragmatic about how much that experience would help them. “We’ve tried to cover a little bit of it.
“The biggest thing is to just go out and play. It is a semifinal but at the end of the day it’s just another rugby match and you’ve just got to go out and do your bit and play to the best of your ability.”
Flyhalf Peter Grant was in sublime form this season for the Stormers and he heaped praise on his captain and team-mates for the part they played in his performances.
“It’s been easy working with Schalk, and it hasn’t really felt like I’ve had the headlines. The way we’ve worked together this season with the calls has been really easy. Obviously having guys like Bryan and Jaque in the background and (assistant coach Robbie) Fleck has helped me a lot.”
Coach Allister Coetzee had only good things to say about the humble Grant, a former SA Schools star. “Peter has been an unsung hero in this side at 10.
“A lot of people are looking for flashy 10s that drop goals, but Peter’s done his job quietly and his ability to organise the backs has been exceptional, and also in supporting Schalla in terms of strategy on the field and in giving direction in terms of our play. I’ve been very happy with that.”
Grant has also been in good form with the boot and was one of the top points’ scorers after the league phase of the competition. “I didn’t train any more than previous seasons, if anything, maybe a little less.
“But I think it’s been a confidence thing and when the team plays well it’s easier.”