Stormers ditch targets for tour Down Under

    2018-02-20 12:15

    Lloyd Burnard

    Cape Town - In 2017 the Stormers left for a three-match tour of New Zealand full of hope. 

    They had reason to be hopeful, too. 

    The Capetonians had started the season with six straight victories, including a seriously impressive 34-26 win over the Chiefs at Newlands. 

    Defeat to eventual finalists the Lions the week before leaving for New Zealand did not dampen the spirits, and coach Robbie Fleck was optimistic heading into matches against the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes. 

    The Stormers, after knocking the Chiefs over, felt like they were ready to exchange blows with the Kiwi teams and they set themselves a target of two wins on the road. 

    24 tries and three defeats later, Fleck's charges returned with nothing but bruises to show for their efforts. 

    The tour this year comes a lot earlier for the Stormers, who have a largely uninspiring 28-20 win over the Jaguares in their pockets from the opening weekend. 

    Having learnt their lessons of last year, the Capetonians are approaching this tour with no set targets in terms of desired wins or log points. 

    With Super Rugby returning to a more conventional format in 2018, the Stormers will visit both Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks. 

    The Waratahs in Sydney this weekend is their first assignment, and on paper that looks their most realistic shot at a win with trips to the Crusaders and Highlanders following. 

    "We're not trying to forecast or get ahead of ourselves. Last year we set ourselves goals and this year our goal is to take it week by week and see how much we can get out of each game," forwards coach Russell Winter said from Sydney on Tuesday.

    "We're going to go flat out this weekend for a win and hopefully we can put everything together and get one.

    "This tour is going to be tough, but we're looking forward to the challenge and trying to bring home some points."

    While the Stormers do have the advantage of having had a run-out already this season, the Waratahs will be playing their first match of the campaign. 

    Winter, though, does not think that will benefit his side at all.

    "They've had two warm-up games and have played the Rebels and the Highlanders," said Winter.

    "I think when it comes to match fitness and the pace of the game we should be on par. Only Saturday will tell who is better prepared."

    Fleck will name his side for the match on Thursday, while kick-off on Saturday will be at 10:45 (SA time).

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    Saturday, 24 March 2018
    • Hurricanes v Highlanders, Wellington Regional Stadium 08:35
    • Stormers v Reds, Newlands Stadium 17:15
    • Jaguares v Lions, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 21:40
    Friday, 30 March 2018
    • Chiefs v Highlanders, Waikato Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Hurricanes, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 10:45
    Saturday, 31 March 2018
    • Blues v Sharks, Eden Park 08:35
    • Brumbies v Waratahs, Canberra Stadium 10:45
    • Bulls v Stormers, Loftus Versfeld 17:15


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