The last time that the Stormers were in Christchurch, in 2012, they may have had their best ever chance of beating the Crusaders in New Zealand.
They had come into that game on a six-match winning streak, while the Crusaders had to play at a new smaller venue in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes, and Dan Carter was so wayward with his goalkicking that he was moved to inside centre to accommodate Tom Taylor at flyhalf.
And they were right in it deep into the second half, but a missed conversion by Joe Pietersen and a yellow card to Rynhardt Elstadt ended the Cape side’s hopes.
But tomorrow, the Stormers are at the other end of the scale following a heavy loss to the Lions and a one-point win over the Hurricanes.
To make life even tougher for coach Allister Coetzee, he doesn’t have a team that is close to the class of 2012.
But maybe that is what could just be the point of inspiration for Jean de Villiers’ team – especially the tight five, who have only one Springbok in Frans Malherbe compared to the Crusaders’ full All Blacks tight five.
“Not being given a chance to come here and win, and they are also with their backs to the wall, it’s really going to be the team that handles the pressure the best and cuts the mistakes out,” Coetzee said this week.
“That’s the team who will have a chance of winning the game. We are really looking forward to it, and it is actually a bit different and a better position to go into this one as underdogs.”
Within that Stormers tight five, it is De Kock Steenkamp who has the most difficult task.
He hasn’t played at all this year due to a groin injury, and now on his comeback, he has to face the world’s best lock in the shape of Sam Whitelock and then also get the Stormers line-out to function properly after it went awry last week.
The most anticipated match-up of the night should be between Kieran Read and Duane Vermeulen at No8, but it is the two flyhalves, Taylor and Demetri Catrakilis, who will hold the key for their teams.
The Stormers No10 showed great composure to kick the winning conversion against the Hurricanes, and De Villiers believes that he is getting better every week.
“A lot of credit must go to Dim for slotting that kick under a lot of pressure.
“We just sort of expected that of him, but not everyone can do that,” the captain said.
“I think he is getting better and better, and the way we are gelling as a backline, he is also getting more confidence.
“He is looking to take more control and, like I said, he is settling into that role more and more.
“We have a 50percent chance of winning anywhere we play in the world against any team. We definitely do see it as a great opportunity, and it’s a chance for us as a team and individuals to see where we are at.” - The Star