Stormers loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg is in a positive frame of mind ahead of his side’s Super Rugby opener against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Janse van Rensburg said there’s great excitement in the Stormers camp and they are keen to implement what they have been doing during their pre-season programme in this year’s tournament.
“We’ve placed a huge emphasis on skills training and worked hard on our conditioning, and we’re excited to get the season underway,” he said.
“We’ve had a good pre-season although you can’t read to much into that, but this weekend it’s the big one against the Bulls. There’s great excitement amongst our guys and we’re all looking forward to the start of the season.”
The Stormers’ fixture against the Bulls is widely regarded as the biggest derby on the South African rugby calendar and Van Rensburg, who joined the Cape Town-based outfit from Top 14 side Bayonne last year, expects a tough battle against their rivals from the north.
“Over the years a big rivalry has developed between the Bulls and us,” he added.
“For us it’s a match which we would like to win so that we can start our campaign on a good note. We’ve made some changes in our approach to the game during the pre-season which we want to perfect in this game and the plan is to play an exciting brand of rugby.
“We’ve had supporters who have stuck with us through good and bad times over the years and our goal this year is to play in front of a packed Newlands again, and to make our supporters happy.”
The 31-year-old said there’s a great spirit in the Stormers camp and said the team is keen to make a big impact in this year’s competition.
“It’s a happy camp and the guys are really enjoying each other’s company,” he said.
“Players and management are all getting along well and we’re keen to get our campaign underway. Hopefully this strong culture will help us if things get tough.”
As one of a core group of senior players, Janse van Rensburg believes his team’s experienced charges have an important role to play in 2017.
“We have about 10 players who have made more than 50 appearances at Super Rugby level and in a tough competition like this we’ll need our senior guys to step up,” he explained.
“As the senior group, we’re going to have a massive responsibility and we cherish this opportunity to help – captain – Siya (Kolisi) and – vice-captain – Eben (Etzebeth) and to guide them in the right direction.”