CAPE TOWN – While the Stormers have a few boxes they will want to tick this season, winning their away games is right at the top of that list, according to coach Robbie Fleck.
During last year’s Super Rugby campaign, the Stormers ended 11th overall and fourth in the SA conference.
They didn’t manage to win any games away from Newlands either, and it’s something Fleck says needs to change as they prepare for their opener against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.
“If you want to do well in this competition you’ve got to win away from home, whether that’s in your local derbies or in New Zealand,” Fleck said.
“We let ourselves down last year because some of those losses were close. We know we’ve got our work cut out. It’s always tough at Loftus, but we need to win those away games.”
The Stormers’ first assignment against the Bulls last year at Newlands was a successful one, and although they went one up on their rivals in their Superhero-themed friendly in Cape Town last week as well, it’s the challenge that comes with starting their campaign away from home that could play a big role in the team’s confidence and how things go from there.
The players’ confidence is in a healthy state ahead of the competition, Fleck said, thanks to a pleasing pre-season and the involvement of last year’s Currie Cup players (they lost to the Sharks in the final after going through the league stage unbeaten).
“I think that confidence was built during the Currie Cup for the younger guys. They got plenty of opportunity now and they won at that level. All of them had a great pre-season and that’s given them a lot of confidence to compete with the international guys as well,” he said.
“I think there’s a bit of belief in the Bulls camp and I think there’s belief in this camp. I think it’s going to be a cracker. We’re expecting a big crowd and we’ve got a fair amount of support up there.”@WynonaLouw