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North-South derby: Stormers' winning run is a 'confidence thing'

SPOTLIGHT: Stormers loose forward Deon Fourie is bracing himself for an intense North-South derby against the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.

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The Stormers head into Saturday’s clash in good form and with winning momentum. They haven’t lost since their second-string team made a good fist of it against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup at Welford Road on December 8.

A win for the Capetonians will not only stretch their winning streak over the Bulls to eight, but they will also cement their spot at the top of the South African Shield.

However, it will not be an easy task as Springbok flank Fourie revealed he expects another tough match between these two teams, especially with the Bulls hungry to end the Stormers’ unbeaten run against them.

“I think it’s just a confidence thing with the Stormers at the moment,” Fourie said.

“Winning is a habit, but it takes hard work to keep that habit.

“The Bulls are firing at the moment and they want to break that bogey, so it’s going to be tough but exciting as well.

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“It will be intense.”

A sold-out Loftus Versfeld can be expected on Saturday as more than 30,000 tickets have already been sold.

The big build-up to Saturday has taken Fourie back to his high school rugby days and memories of watching this derby from the stands.

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“I grew up in Polokwane. I can remember since I was little going to Loftus Versfeld and watching these derby games and they were always the biggest – pulling the crowds and all the emotions around them,” Fourie said.

“I think it’s just ingrained in our DNA as South Africans to really compete in the derbies.”

The Stormers star reflected on what will also be an Origins Round in the competition where the players go back to their rugby roots by wearing their school rugby socks.

“Wearing the school socks is inspirational and reflective,” Fourie said.

“When I was at school in Pietersburg [High school]  we still had the wool socks with the little tie at the back. It brings back memories.

“You always remember playing with your mates at school, and the guys I played rugby with at school are still my best friends today. That’s the beauty of rugby. It creates that bond.

“For me, that’s where it all started – at high school. You don’t see a lot of professional rugby players coming from that side of the country, so maybe for all the kids playing in Pietersburg now it’s good to see that there is a possibility to play professionally and hopefully internationally as well.”

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