CAPE TOWN - They might not be where they want to be, but Stormers centre JJ Engelbrecht says their Super Rugby situation won’t affect their confidence as they prepare for their home game against the Lions.
That situation sees the Stormers at the bottom of the South African conference and 11th on the overall standings, while they will also be looking to pick up the pieces after a 26-23 defeat to the Sunwolves in Hong Kong at the weekend.
With only five wins this season and three group-stage games remaining, Engelbrecht said that they’re nowhere near short of motivation as they aim to go all out and “make the most” of their fixtures against the Lions, Jaguares and the Sharks.
And while they’ll have to wait a while to test their determination in Buenos Aires against the Argentinians and in a SA coastal derby against the Sharks, they will be able to assess the power of that confidence against the Lions at Newlands on Saturday.
“We’re a team full of confidence, your situation can’t affect your confidence. We’re not necessarily where we want to be or where we believe we should have been, and that’s why I think we’ll want to show what we can do in every remaining game,” Engelbrecht said.
“Regardless of what the log says we owe ourselves a big performance and to have three good wins. Our motivation is no question, we’re definitely motivated more than ever, so we’ll make the most of our remaining games.”
The Springbok midfielder returned to the Cape for the 2018 season after spells with the Bulls and Japan’s Toyota Industries Shuttles, and while he’s featured mostly on the wing for Robbie Fleck’s team, he also ran out at outside centre.
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And when asked which position he prefers, the 29-year-old said: “I’ve always moved between the two. I enjoy both a lot. I don’t prefer one over the other.”
Engelbrecth of course became a Bok at the Bulls, and at the Stormers' training base in Bellville, he explained that he’s always wanted to play for Western Province.
“I’ve been enjoying it a lot, I started my rugby career here and I’ve always been a big WP supporter. So it’s a special place for me,” he said.
“I’ve been enjoying it a lot since I’ve been back. I love the systems, I love the way we’re being coached and the outlook on rugby.”
Engelbrecht couldn’t confirm his plans after Super Rugby this season, but he was pretty sure about their plans for Swys de Bruin’s Lions - to use that motivation that drives them to want to prove what they can do after a tough season.
“They (the Lions) come with a lot of energy and they try to move the ball wide. They’ll try and come for us,” Engelbrecht said. “We’re very motivated, I’m sure it’ll be a good game.”