Kolisi: Playing Kiwi teams a good thing
Cape Town - This time last year, the Stormers were considered to have the perfect Super Rugby draw.
Pooled alongside the Bulls, Cheetahs and Sunwolves in their conference, the Stormers completely avoided the New Zealand sides in the competition's regular season and were heavily tipped to progress through to the playoffs.
They did that, but then came unstuck the first time they came up against Kiwi opposition when they were smashed 60-21 by the Chiefs in the quarter-finals at Newlands.
This year, the Stormers will play all five New Zealand teams in the group stages. And while that may seem like a tougher task on paper, it is being viewed positively by Siya Kolisi and the rest of the side.
"It gets you more ready because you know you’re playing against the best sides in the competition," Kolisi said of his side's draw.
"We’re excited about it. People might see it differently, but it’s going to show us where we are when we test ourselves against them.
"We’re not going to change anything and we’re going to play like how we trained in pre-season. I think we’re prepared enough in the way that coach wants us to play. We’re excited ... we see it as a positive.
"We’re not focusing too much on the other teams ... just on what we have to do and what we’ve worked on. We can’t control what they do."
On his own condition, Kolisi said he was in good shape, thanks largely to a few minor adjustments in pre-season.
"I’m feeling good. It’s been a long pre-season ... I think it’s time to go now," he said.
"It’s been really good ... we've focused on looking after ourselves on and off the field. Even when you’re at home you have to look after yourself and we didn’t do that in the past."
The Stormers take on the Bulls in their first Super Rugby match of the season at Newlands on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 19:30.