Cape Town - The Stormers will be eager to improve on their dismal playoff track record when they host the Chiefs in the Super Rugby quarter-finals at Newlands on Saturday (19:00 kick-off).
Over the years, the Capetonians have developed a tendency to crack in big games and they will head into this weekend’s clash as underdogs.
The Stormers received a home playoff courtesy of Super Rugby’s controversial tournament structure and critics will argue that Robbie Fleck’s men have been aided by not having to play any New Zealand teams this season.
History also suggests that the home side will find the going tough on Saturday.
Since the first Super 12 in 1996, the Stormers have been involved in SEVEN playoff games and only boast a solitary win.
Who can forget the debacle of 1999 when a threatening player strike ruined their preparations and ended in a 33-18 Super 12 loss to the Otago Highlanders in the semi-finals?
It took the Stormers another five years to again reach that stage of the tournament, when they went down 27-16 to the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Bleak years followed after 2004 and it was only in 2010 - when they recorded a 25-6 home semi-final win over the Waratahs - that the Stormers were again a side to be reckoned with.
A week later the occasion proved too much though when they were outclassed 25-17 by the Bulls in the final at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium.
The following year, the Stormers never pitched for a Newlands semi-final against bogey side, the Crusaders, who triumphed 29-10.
In 2012, the Stormers topped the log after regular season action, only to slip up badly against a spirited Sharks outfit and be denied the chance to host a final for the first time.
Two mediocre years followed before playoff rugby returned to Newlands, but the Brumbies upset the apple cart with a resounding 39-19 win in 2015.
Saturday’s match will prove another stern test for the Stormers, but if they can take the Chiefs on up front, dominate the set pieces and defend adequately, an upset may be on the cards...
Stormers’ Super rugby playoff record:
1999 - lost to Otago Highlanders (33-18 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2004 - lost to Crusaders (27-16 in semi-finals, Christchurch)
2010 - beat Waratahs (25-6 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2010 - lost to Bulls (25-17 in final, Soweto)
2011 - lost to Crusaders (29-10 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2012 - lost to Sharks (26-19 in semi-finals, Cape Town)
2015 - lost to Brumbies (39-19 in qualifier, Cape Town)
2016 - ? v Chiefs (quarter-finals, Cape Town)
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (co-captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Ezebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Nizaam Carr, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Brandon Thomson
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sam McNicol, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Tevita Koloamatangi, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Toni Pulu, 23 Shaun Stevenson