Champions Cup: Deon Fourie says Stormers will feed off Cape Town crowd in tie against Harlequins

Dylan Coetzee
Champions Cup: Stormers crowd celebrates in Cape Town

Stormers veteran Deon Fourie is hoping ‘the Faithful’ in Cape Town “can add a few extra points” on the board when they host Harlequins in the last-16 of the Champions Cup this weekend.

The Capetonians have a remarkable record at home, with their last defeat coming at the end of 2021 against the Lions in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Since then, the Stormers have managed an impressive win streak at home, including wins against London Irish and Clermont in the Champions Cup pool stages.

Powered by the Faithful

Fourie believes the fanbase known as the ‘Faithful’ powers the side, and he expects the Stormers to feed off the energy in the stands.

“I wouldn’t have believed it if someone told me when I left that when I returned in 2023 we would play at home in a last-16 game in Cape Town in front of this crowd,” he said.

“The team will definitely feed off that on the occasion, we will enjoy it and hopefully the crowd can add an extra few points on the scoreboard, if it’s needed at the end.”

Last weekend the Stormers travelled to Dublin and managed a draw against URC league leaders Leinster who fielded a weakened team.

Nevertheless, the clash saw the return of their Springbok contingent, who had been resting. Fourie saw the game as ideal preparation for the knockout game.

“In terms of preparation for this game, I think it was great, especially for the Springboks coming back after their break,” he said. “Giving them some game time and getting back into our structures, it was great.

“It was also Hacjivah’s second game since coming back from injury so he is also getting back into his groove. In that respect, I think it will help a lot for the game against Harlequins.”

Stop quick ball

Plans to slow down the speed of play against Leinster may work against Quins. This area is Fourie’s expertise, as he is always on hand to disrupt the breakdown.

“It was good playing Leinster before Harlequins because Leinster also love to play with quick ball. We made good plans for Leinster and I think they worked well, so we will just take that into this weekend’s game,” he said.

“I will always search for that opportunity when it comes to stealing or slowing the ball down. Accuracy is key for me when I make those decisions.”

The Stormers know the danger of a player like Marcus Smith and will look to limit his opportunities by maintaining discipline.

“Discipline is always important, especially with a player like Marcus on the field,” said Fourie.

“We had a bad patch in the Leinster game where we gave eight or nine penalties away in a row. We have to be more accurate or disciplined, otherwise Marcus will punish us with his kicks or his running ability. His attacking style is also top-notch.”

It is all set for an intriguing clash between two sides who love to throw the ball around.

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