CAPE TOWN - Stormers assistant coach Paul Feeney says their chances of topping the South African conference aren’t over “by a long way”.
The Stormers will have to win their remaining games if they want a real chance of securing a home quarter-final (which would also require a slip-up or two by the Lions), and that all starts with the Chiefs on Saturday.
The Lions lead the South African conference with 31 points, while the Jaguares (24) and the Sharks (23) still stand in Robbie Fleck’s team way of getting there.
The Stormers will travel to Hong Kong to face the Sunwolves following their home fixture against the Kiwis and will meet the Argentinians the next week, before returning to South Africa for their home game against the Lions before the international break.
“We’re keen to make the quarter-finals and we still don’t think our chances of winning our conference are over by a long way, it’s not. We’ll see how the Lions go this week. We still think first place is up for grabs for a home quarter. Our future is in our hands still,” Feeney said.
Feeney also said that there will be no trace of complacency as they prepare to go into their home game against the Chiefs on Saturday after their impressive win over the Bulls last week.
The Stormers put up a big performance against the Bulls in front of a pumping Newlands crowd.
But the Chiefs will of course present their own threats, and Feeney was adamant that their desire to make the Super Rugby quarter-finals is too great to allow themselves to bask in the glory of their victory against the foes for too long.
“Every game for us is just about the play-offs, so there’ll certainly be no worry of complacency,” Feeney said at the team’s training base in Bellville on Tuesday.
One thing that should give the Stormers a confidence boost apart from last week’s triumph is last year’s round-robin victory against the Chiefs.
In that game, both teams produced a spectacular display of rugby, and the Stormers secured a 34-26 win at Newlands.
But after that, Robbie Fleck’s side fell to the Lions. And when asked if there could be a chance of one week’s celebrations turning into disappointment again, Feeney said: “I don’t think there’s no danger of that this time.
"I think last year the Lions outplayed us, but also we were leaving on our overseas trip the next day, so I don’t know, there might have been a few things going on, but we didn’t play well enough to win that match.”
After their shock defeat to the Jaguares last week, the Chiefs will have their full All Black contingent back, while Sam Cane is the big omission as he is being rested for the South Africa tour after having suffering an abdominal strain.
And according to Feeney, it’s a battle that the Stormers are looking forward to.
“I think they’re a physical team, they like to dominate up front, and we enjoy that challenge ourselves. It blew over a bit in the round-robin game last year and that’s good, (it brings) a bit of feeling into the game.”
“At Newlands we’re proud of our results. Our fans have come out even when the chips have come down. That really helps our boys. There’s nothing better than playing a good side at home and seeing how you go,” Feeney said.