CAPE TOWN - It may be true that it’s not how you start, but how you finish, but the start will be as important as any other major round-robin match the Stormers will take part in this year.
And while it’s obviously always important to win your home games, it will be even more so for the Cape side this week.
Robbie Fleck’s team will kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Jaguares this Saturday at Newlands, before traveling to Sydney to face the Waratahs the following week.
The Stormers struggled on tour to New Zealand last year although they produced a promising run on South African soil before their overseas trip, where they took harsh beatings from the Crusaders, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes before returning home.
In the end they still managed to secure a play-off spot, which saw them go up against the Chiefs at Newlands in the quarter-finals, a tense encounter they lost 11-17.
And seeing that their visit to the land of the long white cloud is very early this season, putting up a massive performance against the Argentines becomes vital.
And the same goes for their Round Two fixture against the Australians.
A big win in front of their home crowd on Saturday will do a lot, not only in terms of the obvious important-to-build log points, but also for their confidence and momentum, for individual players and, more importantly, for the team.
While the ‘Tahs might not be one of the toughest opposition the Stormers will face this year, the unpredictable Jaguares could pose a bigger challenge on Saturday, and any team should aim to put in everything they can to make sure that their confidence reserves run high before they face the Kiwis.
So, as much as the Stormers possibly want to take it one game at a time and focus on the Jaguares before they shift that focus to the Waratahs and so on, they can use these first two matches as motivation while keeping their dates with the Super Rugby champions (on March 3) at the AMI Stadium and the Highlanders (on March 9) at Forsyth Barr Stadium in mind.