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Cape Town - The Stormers are pinning their hopes on home-ground advantage to finally rake in a 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby victory when they host the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 5.05pm).
However, statistics over the past three seasons show that the Stormers have a higher winning rate away from home, and captain Jean de Villiers recently remarked: “If anything, we’ve probably been disappointing at home, in crucial games (in recent times).”
But statistics were not weighing heavily on his mind this week when asked about his team's chances of victory against the reigning Super Rugby Champions.
“I’ve really got a good feeling about this weekend,” said De Villiers. “We need to look at everything in context. There have not been many games won away from home this season, and we’ve played two quality teams away from home.
“It is not as if we are suddenly a bad team now, and it is not as if we are down (disheartened).
“It is our first game at Newlands this year and we love playing there. That needs to excite us, and if it doesn’t, we’re on the wrong road. When you put the jersey on, it’s about delivering.”
The Stormers have two defeats after as many games and in stark contrast, the Chiefs have two bonus-point wins after two matches. Against this background the Chiefs will be running out at Newlands, where they will be mindful that the opposition defence has been Super Rugby's finest over the past two years.
Last week the Chiefs ran in a 45-3 win over the Cheetahs, who put in a strong first-half display but still trailed 10-3 at the break. During that first half, the Chiefs' set-piece looked vulnerable but they bossed the Cheetahs in the second half when they scored 35 unanswered points.
The Chiefs' exciting speedster Tim Nanai-Williams, who has moved from fullback to midfield this season with a fair degree of success, said that with every match the team was under pressure to perform like champions.
STORMERS: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff.
Reserves: Tiaan Liebenberg, Pat Cilliers, Don Armand, Nizaam Carr, Dewaldt Duvenage, Peter Grant, Gerhard van den Heever.
CHIEFS: Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Charlie Ngatai, Asaeli Tikoirotuma. Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke, Ben Afeaki, Mahroni Schwalger, Pauliasi Manu.
Reserves: Hika Elliot, Ben Tameifuna, Michael Fitzgerald, Nick Crosswell, Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell, Patrick Osborne. - Sapa