The psychological warfare before the Champions Cup quarter-final between the Stormers and Exeter Chiefs has begun.
According to Rob Baxter, the English club’s director of rugby, the Capetians already have this knockout match in the bag.
The Stormers were at their attacking best this past weekend and they beat Harlequins 32 – 28 at the DHL Stadium.
“I know there are many people who believe that we don’t stand a chance against the Stormers. After all, they settled easily with Harlequins, while ‘Quins settled with us a few weeks ago at a trot. If you look at things like that, our cap has definitely been hit,” said Baxter.
However, according to the Exeter man, he is okay with it if his team does not carry the favorite tag for the upcoming game.
“It’s actually a good starting point for us. We don’t have to improve our physical game much, we just have to make sure that our emotional batteries are recharged.”
In addition to the danger posed by the Stormers back line, the forwards also ensured that Harlequins chewed hard bones.
Front-row players such as Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Brok Harris ensured that the visitors’ scrum remained in reverse, while Deon Fourie’s ball-stealing ability made life very difficult for them.
Baxter believes that Sam Simmonds will lead the Exeter attack to tame the Cape forwards.
The 28-year-old loose forward delivered a player-of-the-match performance against Montpellier and he won 93 m with his powerful runs for his team.
“At times it seemed impossible to stop him in his tracks. He was one of the guys who played with the right attitude against Montpellier.”
However, the Stormers do not take any result for granted and they do not play in their beloved Cape Town where they have won a series of matches in a row.
But they are riding the crest of the momentum wave and they have been persuaded to be successful in Europe.
The match starts at 18:30 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
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