Stormers are a 'world-class' side says Marais

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 04:59

REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes that the Stormers have the potential to challenge for the 2017 Super Rugby title - even if they are forced to play a knock-out fixture in New Zealand. Josh Isaacson reports.

The Stormers outscored the Bulls by six tries to five en route to a 41-33 victory at Loftus in Pretoria on Saturday.

The result did not have any impact on the final standings and play-off permutations as it was already confirmed before the match had kicked off that the Stormers will host New Zealand team, the Chiefs in a Super Rugby quarterfinal in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Stormers head into the play-offs full of confidence after back-to-back victories over the Sunwolves and the Bulls.

Speaking to reporters after the game on Saturday, Marais said that the Stormers have good enough players to challenge any team in the Super Rugby tournament.

"I think they [Stormers] a good side, world class players, Eben [Etzebeth] and Pieter-Steph [du Toit] and them, I think they got a good balanced side," commented Marais.

If the Stormers manage to beat the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday, a potential trip to New Zealand awaits against the Crusaders in the semifinals.

The Stormers lost all three of their games against the Crusaders (24-57), Highlanders (14-57) and the Hurricanes (22-41) on their New Zealand tour during the 2017 Super Rugby regular season.

However, Marais explained that the experience of playing against New Zealand teams in their own home ground during the regular season will make it easier for the Stormers to play a semifinal fixture in New Zealand.

"It's always going to be difficult, they play one at home [quarterfinal against the Chiefs on Saturday] and then maybe away against a New Zealand side, but they are a good enough side and I think even the touring will be easier for them.

"Robbie [Fleck] said to me they got a bit hammered on tour, but they've been there [New Zealand] now, so they know what to expect, so I think they will do good," said Marais.

The last time the Stormers played the Chiefs in Cape Town was in a Round Seven Super Rugby this season and on that occasion the Stormers outscored the Chiefs by four tries to three en route to a 34-26 victory.

The last time the two teams did battle in a Super Rugby quarterfinal was in 2016 and on that occasion the Chiefs outscored the Stormers by eight tries to three in a one sided 60-21 victory for the Chiefs at Newlands Stadium.

2017 Super Rugby Quarterfinal Draw:
 
QF1: Lions [1] versus Sharks [8]
QF2: Crusaders [2] versus Highlanders [7]
QF3: Stormers [3] versus Chiefs [6]
QF4: Brumbies [4] versus Hurricanes [5]
 
Quarterfinal Match Schedule (all times local):
 
Friday, July 21: Brumbies v Hurricanes, Canberra - 19:35
Saturday, July 22: Crusaders v Highlanders, Christchurch - 19:35
Saturday, July 22: Lions v Sharks, Johannesburg - 14:30
Saturday, July 22 Stormers v Chiefs, Cape Town - 17:00
 
Semifinal Draw:
Pre-determined draw as follows (highest ranked team to host):
 
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF4
SF2: Winner QF2 v Winner QF3

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Bath v Sale Sharks 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 14h30 Twickenham Stoop
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Fri, 02 March 2018
Blues v Chiefs 06h35 Eden Park
Reds v Brumbies 09h00 Suncorp Stadium
Kings v Dragons 17h35 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Munster 19h35 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Harlequins v Bath 19h45 Twickenham Stoop
Sat, 03 March 2018
Sunwolves v Rebels 22h00 Tokyo
Crusaders v Stormers 06h35 Christchurch
Sharks v Waratahs 13h05 Kings Park
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 24 February 2018
Lions v Jaguares 47 | 27
Waratahs v Stormers 34 | 27
Crusaders v Chiefs 45 | 23
Sunwolves v Brumbies 25 | 32
Fri, 23 February 2018
France v Italy 34 | 17
Leinster v Kings 64 | 7
Dragons v Edinburgh 12 | 25
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 21 | 10
Rebels v Reds 45 | 19
Highlanders v Blues 41 | 34
Mon, 19 February 2018
NWU-Pukke v UJ 18 | 15
Maties v CUT-Ixias 75 | 12
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 27 | 32
NMMU-Madibaz v Wits 29 | 32
Sun, 18 February 2018
Dragons v Treviso 15 | 18
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 1 1 0 0 5
Waratahs 1 1 0 0 4
Brumbies 1 1 0 0 4
Sunwolves 1 0 0 1 1
Reds 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 1 1 0 0 5
Highlanders 1 1 0 0 4
Blues 1 0 0 1 1
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 2 2 0 0 9
Stormers 2 1 0 1 5
Sharks 1 0 0 1 1
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 2 0 0 2 0