The Stormers have arrived in New Zealand for a four-match tour, in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Christchurch that has seen 50 people killed at two mosques.
Coach Robbie Fleck said before leaving Cape Town that the team will continue with the tour despite the shooting spree last Friday, adding that “these are tough times there, but we are on that flight”.
They arrived in the Kiwi capital Wellington on Monday after a marathon trip from Cape Town International Airport ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes at the Westpac Stadium.
For once, it is the Capetonians who are on a high ahead of their four-match tour, after beating the Jaguares 35-8 – with a bonus point – at Newlands last Friday, which stretched their winning streak to three.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, come off a 23-23 draw with the Chiefs at the weekend.
“We are going there with confidence, we are not going to hold back. We are going flat out to give it our best. We are going to give it everything we can,” captain Siya Kolisi, who scored a try and was the Man of the Match, said in a statement on Monday.
“Our first game is the Hurricanes, and we will worry about the Blues after that.
“We are going to keep working hard at the things we are good at, and try and manage the game at our own pace as well.”
The Stormers managed to score the vital bonus-point fourth try in the closing stages against the Jaguares via Justin Phillips.
Fleck, though, knows it will be a much tougher test against John Plumtree’s Canes. “I still think that there is a lot for us to do, but when we get it right tactically, this team can do some good things,” the coach said.
“The group is energised and happy. They are working hard, and we know that this tour is really important for us so we are looking forward to it.
“I still think that we can get better in our attack. Our set-piece is functioning well at the moment, which it didn’t n that first game against the Bulls. A lot of our opportunities come from our set-piece, and I think the team is starting to get to grips with what is needed from them on attack.
Stormers v Jaguares | Super Rugby 2019 Rd 5 Highlights@THESTORMERS make it three wins in a row with a strong 35-8 bonus-point victory over the @JaguaresARG at Newlands.#SuperRugby #STOvJAG pic.twitter.com/X1qXk5Ybq4— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) March 15, 2019
“It is a different kettle of fish playing in New Zealand in their back yard, but there are some players in this group that have won there before.
“For us, it is about getting some momentum and that confidence to play a bit more on the front foot. Tactically, we are going to have to be pretty smart and control the tempo of the game, because the Kiwis like to speed things up.
“They are pretty physical at the breakdown and like to get the ascendancy there, so we have got some work to do.”
Meanwhile, Hurricanes captain Dane Coles is expecting a fierce onslaught from the Stormers pack, who won’t have Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth available this week after he failed a head-injury assessment (HIA) test at Newlands.
“We know they’re pretty direct,” Coles told the stuff.co.nz website.
“It’s all about those one-on-one tackles, and they love the set-piece drive and big scrums, so the forward pack is going to have to lift again and keeping trucking and keep working hard.
“You’ve got to change your mindset for an African team, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Yakult Try Of The Week 👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/iEJ5jf4fmh— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) March 15, 2019