In the pressure cooker of a play-off game, it is important not to take your foot off the accelerator.
A team must play rugby for the full 80 minutes.
According to Ruhan Nel, the Stormers learned a valuable rugby lesson in last week’s game against Harlequins in Cape Town when they conceded a series of tries in the dying moments of the matchup.
However, they still did enough to win the duel with 32 – 28 and the Capetians certainly have the necessary momentum for Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final against the Exeter Chiefs in England.
Nel believes that the Stormers must be prepared to nip such fightbacks in the bud; After all, Exeter impressed with their fighting spirit in the club’s previous game when they drew 33 apiece against Montpellier.
“We are now not only well aware of Exeter’s resilience, but also of the desperation with which they play. Their rugby mentality is right and they maintain a good balance between attacking play, defense and kicking,” said the strong centre.
At the same time, he is also looking forward to his duel with Henry Slade, Exeter’s England centre.
“Slade is a good player who can kick and run while also impressing with his passing. It’s always nice when you can cross swords with some of the best players in the world. And Henry definitely falls into that category.”
Rob Baxter, the English club’s director of rugby, smeared honey around the mouth of the Stormers this week and said that his team did not stand a chance against the Capetians.
However, Exeter has only lost against Saracens at home this season and its players definitely shift into a higher gear when they are fired up by the spectators.
“This is the knockout phase of the competition; it is now the top teams playing against each other. Whoever remains under pressure will wield the scepter.”
The match starts at 18:30 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
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