Vodacom Stormers in high spirits

PUBLISHED: March 24, 2006

PERTH – The cool, damp and grey conditions that greeted the Vodacom Stormers on their arrival in Perth on Friday, did little to dampen the team’s enthusiasm as they gear up for their four-match Australasian tour.

The Stormers have a bye this weekend and kick off the tour next Friday against Australian Super Rugby debutants the Western Force at the Subiaco Oval. From there, the Stormers will travel to New Zealand to face the Blues and Chiefs on consecutive Saturday’s before they return to Brisbane for the final tour match against the Reds.

Coach Kobus van der Merwe says he has been encouraged by the players’ attitude despite the run of disappointing results at home over the past few weeks.

“Our final preparations in South Africa went very well and the guys expressed a determination to do well on the away leg. Touring is never easy but I am satisfied that the guys are approaching the tour with a positive mindset and in the knowledge that they are clear on where they need to improve in order to get the results we want”.

Van der Merwe added that the team would have the weekend off after which preparations will begin on Monday for the tour opener. “We will have shorter, more intense sessions during the week with the emphasis placed on keeping the players fresh after the bye weekend. Touring is all about pacing yourself and if we can get off to a positive start in Perth we can then look to building momentum for the rest of the tour. We have to take each match as it comes and prepare ourselves accordingly,” van der Merwe said.

Meanwhile, the Stormers will not be able to have their captain’s run at Subiaco next Thursday as planned as the venue is hosting an Aussie Rules fixture on the night. Team management is busy liaising with Rugby Western Australia to resolve the matter.

The Stormers are sharing a hotel with the Vodacom Bulls and will attend the Pretoria franchises clash with the Force in city on Saturday night.