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VIDEO: Stormers to bring the heat to Paris' big freeze

The Stormers have ambitions of not just sitting at the top table of European competitions, but being at the head of the table.

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Labeeb Levy, the Stormers skills coach and performance analyst, said they are not willing to just make up the Champions Cup numbers and believe they can compete with the best on the global stage.

The Stormers travel to Paris this week, where they face Stade Français in their final Champions Cup pool game at Stade Jean Bouin.

Other Pool Four fixtures will see Leicester Tigers host Leinster at Welford Road and Sale Sharks welcome holders Stade Rochelais in what could be a winner-takes-all affair at the Salford Stadium.

Leinster are unbeaten at the top of the pool (with 14 points), having already qualified for the Round of 16.

They are followed by the Stormers and Tigers (both nine points), the defending champions, Stade Rochelais (seven), Sale Sharks (five) and Stade Français (one).

The Stormers scored a crucial win (31-24) over Sale Sharks last weekend, setting themselves up for a home run in the knock-out stages.

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Despite being the only team not in the running for the play-offs, Stade Français remains a massive threat to the Stormers’ prospects of qualifying for the play-offs.

Levy said they are not looking at the French team’s European form, but rather how impressive they have been in the Top 14 – sitting in third place behind Racing 92 and Bordeaux Bègles.

“They will be playing for pride,” he said about the French team’s final outing in Europe this season.

“We are not just going to rock up there and expect it to happen.

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“They are a team with a good set piece and this [Champions Cup] level is slightly higher than URC,” Levy added.

(WATCH as Labeeb Levy, the Stormers skills coach and performance analyst, speak about the challenging trip to Paris and a crunch encounter with Stade Français….)

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There is also the freezing French conditions to deal with – with the possibility of snow during the week and Saturday’s temperatures predicted to be between -1°C and -4°C by kick-off.

Coming from a warm Cape Town – with temperatures between the high 20s (°C) and low 30s (°C) – it will require some serious adjustments.

“Last year it was our first experience in the cold in Clermont,” the assistant coach said.

“This time we go in with that experience of playing in those behind us.”

However, the Stormers are not about to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and change their approach altogether.

“We will tweak the game plan a bit, but we don’t want to change too much. in terms of how we want to play,” Levy said.

“It will be like this past weekend, where the players found themselves in certain situations and saw opportunities.

“They made those calls on the field.

“The one massive positive of the team is that they find solutions on the field.

“In terms of the conditions, it is about being mentally tough.

“If it snows, you play in the snow. If it is ice cold, you play in the cold. If it rains, you play in the rain.

“There will be a tweak here and there, because of the conditions.

“We want to go for the win, because our aim is to get home-ground advantage in the play-offs.

“It is all in our hands and that is our focus.

“If we want to be a champion team we have to adapt and win away from home.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Picture credit: @THESTORMERS

VIDEO: Stormers to bring the heat to Paris' big freeze

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