The Vodacom Stormers are facing a tough challenge when they face the Brumbies on Saturday in a Vodacom Super 14 match but captain Jean de Villiers is optimistic about a better performance than in their previous two games on the overseas leg of their campaign.
The Stormers have previously struggled against the Brumbies, not only in Canberra but also in Cape Town and it is going to take a special effort from the Stormers to turn the tide.
Since 1998 the Brumbies have build up a record of nine wins and one draw against the Stormers. Good news for Stormers fans though is that their side ended that unfortunate sequence of results last year at Newlands.
Captain De Villiers said the players were very disappointed after the defeat to the Waratahs last Saturday. “We really wanted to win. We hope to put up a better performance this weekend. The guys put in a lot of effort on and off the field and we trained well this week.
“Hopefully we will see the results in the game on Saturday. The commitment is still there from the guys and hopefully we will get a good win to lift the morale.”
The midfield maestro said it was just a matter of things falling in place before the Stormers fire at all cylinders again. “It could be the bounce of the ball… there are so many things that have an influence on a result or a performance. Like Rassie said, it could be one pass, one great break that changes things around and suddenly the confidence is back.
“It’s like a batsman who struggles to make runs and he receives some good deliveries that are almost unplayable for a while. Then he makes a century and more follow. Hopefully we can do that and get the momentum back.”
De Villiers has a lot of respect for the Brumbies. “From a backline point of view they have a lot of dangerous runners with the ball and they have a good backline. The Brumbies are able to retain the ball through several phases and we need to be wide awake on defence.”
The Stormers brought prop JD Moller back into the starting XV and De Villiers was hoping the experienced player would make a difference on Saturday. And he has a lot of confidence in the pack of forwards.
“We definitely played against one of the strongest packs in the competition the past weekend. We didn’t agree with all the referee’s decisions. We have the guys to do the job and they can show it this weekend. JD is a guy who has been with us for a number of seasons now and he is capable of doing a good job for us on Saturday.”
He said the only thing he as captain could say to the supporters at this stage is that they are putting in the hard work on the training field and on the field of play. “Hopefully we can get the result this weekend – nobody deserves it more than the players and the supporters.”
The Springbok said at the moment results are not the most important goal for the Stormers. “We need to perform better as a team. We believe if we play better and use our opportunities the results will come automatically. That is our goal this weekend and hopefully we can achieve it.”
Teams for Canberra:
Brumbies: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Tyrone Smith, 11 Alfi Mafi, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joshua Holmes, 8 Julian Salvi, 7 George Smith (captain), 6 Mitchell Chapman, 5 Peter Kimlin, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Guy Shepherdson, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Salesi Ma’afu, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Henry Vanderglas, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Gene Fairbanks, 22 Francis Fainifo.
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (captain), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Luke Watson, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 AJ Venter, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Wicus Blaauw/Schalk Ferreira, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Dylan des Fountain.
Referee: Paul Marks (Australia)
Touch judges: Ian Smith (Australia), Daniel Cheever (Australia)
TMO: Geoff Acton (Australia)