Zas ready for last big push of 2022

PUBLISHED: December 28, 2022

Fresh from scoring in a North-South derby win, Leolin Zas is looking forward to helping the DHL Stormers cap off an unbeaten year at home against the Emirates Lions on Saturday.

Zas dotted down in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash on Friday when the DHL Stormers extended their winning run at the DHL Stadium, producing a second-half flurry to beat the Vodacom Bulls and climb into second place on the Vodacom United Rugby Championship table.

“The most satisfying thing about the performance against the Vodacom Bulls was that the plan we had worked,” said Zas. “All of our special moves and plans we put in place came off and we scored tries from them. The atmosphere and the number of people that were there made it even more special.”

The try against the Vodacom Bulls was Zas’ second score of the current campaign after the winger returned in October from an ankle injury that had kept him out of the 2021/22 final.

Last season’s top try-scorer, Zas explained that the DHL Stormers’ counter-attacking strategy is something that fits him like a glove.

“Our willingness to attack from anywhere is just something that excites me. It’s something that I like and it also keeps me on my toes. It’s in our DNA as a team and it’s certainly in mine as a player. It just makes me excited to go to work every day and play every week.

“I just play what I feel. The backing of coaches and players to do what I feel is the best thing for me. Freedom and confidence plays a big role in how I play.”

The DHL Stormers will be back in action on Saturday, when they host the Emirates Lions in a New Year’s Eve clash.

Among the Emirates Lions ranks is speedster Edwill van der Merwe, who made his senior professional debut for DHL Western Province and played for the DHL Stormers between 2019 and 2021.

“We played together and I know him quite well. Edwill is a great player and I rate him very highly,” Zas said. “He has the ability to do great things and is very talented.

“But we’re not just going to focus on one player. It’s not about the battle between me and him. It’s about the team and we can’t just focus on him only.”

The DHL Stormers on Saturday will have the opportunity to cap a memorable 2022 by remaining unbeaten at home, but to do so they will have to stop the team that last beat them at DHL Stadium, back in December 2021.

“It’s been a great year and it’s always an incredible occasion to play at DHL Stadium. I realised on Friday night again what a big difference the fans make to us – I was so happy with the turnout of around 30 000 people. Our fans are just something else… they just bring out the best of us.

“We’ve been putting in the work and are all excited for Saturday. We cannot wait for it and are looking forward to ending the year off on a high. I know we will pull it off.”