Stormers find 'farewell' motivation for season finale
Cape Town - The Stormers, dead and buried in Super
Rugby 2018, can salvage some pride on Saturday when they host the Sharks in
Cape Town in their final match of the campaign.
While the Stormers are out of playoff contention,
the Sharks are still alive but need a win on Saturday and then another next weekend against the Jaguares.
A victory for the Stormers might not mean anything to
them in terms of staying in the competition, but the rivalry between these two
coastal franchises will always be significant and if the Capetonians prove to be a
hurdle for the Sharks, that will at least be something to savour.
More than that, the Stormers are looking to
send a few big names off on a winning note.
"It's a good old-fashioned derby against the
Sharks and also our last game as a group," Stormers assistant Paul Feeney
said on Tuesday.
"We've got people leaving that have been
important to this group and the boys will show how important those people are
in their performance on Saturday.
"When you look at the likes of Nemo (Nizaam
Carr) who has played 98 games for the Stormers, Duvvies (Dewaldt Duvenage) has
played about 92 and JC Janse van Rensburg has had a massive influence on people
here on and off the field."
At the end of this campaign Carr will be joining
Wasps in England, Duvenage will join Benetton in Italy while Janse van Rensburg
is off to Grenoble in France.
Raymond Rhule, meanwhile, will be joining Janse van
Rensburg at Grenoble having spent just one season at Newlands, and it all
contributes somewhat of a mass farewell this weekend.
"Our boys have got a lot to play for."
Feeney was not holding back in his defence of
under-fire coach Robbie Fleck, and while he said numerous times that he would
not make excuses for the side's five wins from 15 in 2018, he did point to
injuries and "small margins" as contributing factors.
"We're disappointed. Our fans are
disappointed. There is nobody more disappointed than our players and our management,"
"We wanted to make the quarter-finals again
and up until last week we had a mathematical chance. Now that we're out, it's
hit home even more.
"It's played on small things. We lost by 3
points to the Lions when we were in control of that match and a red card
changed the game. We lost by three points to the Sunwolves, who got a drop goal
in the 83rd minute. We lost by six points to the Chiefs at home and that game
could have gone either way. We just haven't been able to get over the line in
some of those really close games.
"I've read that the Bulls are ravaged by
injuries and they've probably got half of what we've got.
"Robbie doesn't go on about injuries in the
press ... that's not his style. Nobody talks about the fact that Eben Etzebeth
hasn't played the whole year or Bongi (Mbonambi) and Frans (Malherbe). JL (Du
Plessis) has played three games I think.
"You get injuries and I'll never use that as
an excuse, but you need the rub of green on a few things, and that wasn't one
of them that went our way."
Saturday's match kicks off at 17:15.