Jean wary of hungry Cheetahs
Jean de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The high-flying Stormers will be wary of a hungry Cheetahs outfit, according to captain Jean de Villiers, when they square off at Newlands on Saturday.
The Stormers were second in the SA Super Rugby conference ahead of the weekend fixtures, but De Villiers believed the Cheetahs, lying 15 points behind their hosts, would offer a stiff challenge.
"They obviously play a very entertaining brand of rugby and they have been really successful with it," De Villiers said.
"They'll come to Newlands with a lot of confidence."
De Villiers, a front-runner for the Springbok captaincy this year, returns after recovering from a hand injury, and while he confirmed it had healed, he would be wearing a brace as a protective measure during the match.
"My hand has recovered nicely and it has been good," De Villiers said.
"I will still be playing with a brace and will strap it as well.
"I had two good sessions last week when we were with the Boks, but there was no contact and then obviously with contact this week, it really has responded well so I am confident."
Fresh off a bye week, the Stormers will go in search of their third straight win in their first game at home since their tour of Australasia.
The Cheetahs, meanwhile, have won three of their last five matches, while picking up bonus points in two close defeats.
Given the customary playing styles of the two sides, turn-over ball should be a decisive element in the clash.
The Stormers' gameplan is based on a soundly structured defence, which has far and away the best record in Super Rugby this season.
After nine games, they average less than two tries per match, but by the same token they have conceded only one try per outing.
In stark contrast, the Cheetahs' match average is just over two tries.
In Heinrich Brussow, however, the visitors have a master poacher, whereas the Stormers rely on whichever players are at the breakdown to perform the fetcher role.
Brssow, who should play a key role in the contest, will play his 50th Super Rugby match for the Cheetahs.