Cape Town - If you heard what Stormers master poacher Deon Fourie said about his team earlier this week, it would be pretty clear that belief in the side has never been lacking.
But at the start of the season, it would have been very hard to put money on the Cape Town team. Losing some of their key players to the Sharks did not help as the fans wondered what the future held.
But now, 11 wins, two draws and only four defeats later, the Stormers are about to battle it out for the second spot when they face Scarlets in Wales on Saturday (kick-off 6.10pm).
With Leinster having already secured top spot on the log, with a guaranteed home quarter-final, the scramble for second place and the other three home quarter-finals will feature Munster, the Sharks, the Stormers, Ulster and the Bulls.
The Stormers need only a win to ensure hosting rights for Cape Town Stadium, and if they want to finish second, they will have to pass the Sharks and Munster on the standings. Even if they lose to Scarlets, all is not lost, but the Cape side will then have to rely on other results to go in their favour in order for them earn a home quarter-final.
Whatever happens in the last round of league action, the Stormers, who are unlikely to lose to the 10th-placed Scarlets, have shown what they can do.
"I think the team always had belief from the start of the season that we are a good squad with good players," Fourie said.
"If we pulled together, we believed that we would get the wins if we played like how we're playing. Now we're sitting here talking about winning the Shield.
"If we'd spoken at the beginning of the season, that wouldn't even be a question from you guys. So, it's part of the game.
"As soon as you do better, the pressure starts building. Luckily, the guys are managing it well and taking it game-by-game, trying to improve in every game. As long as each player does his job, the rest will just fall into place."
Coach John Dobson said that there is no need to remind his guys of what is at stake.
“This is a vital game for us as we look to secure home advantage in the play-offs, so the players all understand what is at stake,” said Dobson.
“We want to end the league phase of the competition on a high, but we know that we will have to be at our best to come away with a win against a highly-motivated Scarlets side.”