On paper, the Stormers do not have much of a hope of beating the Chiefs in this weekend’s Super Rugby quarterfinal at Newlands, but the home team will draw on recent successes in their build-up to the clash.
Of 45 matches against overseas teams this season, New Zealand teams have won 42 for a 93.3% success rate.
But two of those three defeats have been inflicted by the Stormers — on the Chiefs and the Blues.
Both were at Newlands. So there is hope.
The quarterfinal on Saturday against the Chiefs is a repeat of 2016’s encounter at the same stage, at the same venue. The Chiefs shocked the Stormers with their intensity and skill, winning 60-21.
But when the sides met in early April, it was the Stormers that won 34-26.
"We looked at the quarterfinal from last year before our [April] meeting against them this year, and that had an impact on how we played against them," coach Robbie Fleck said.
"So we will study what we did right and look at the positives from the win and use them. But they also exploited us in one or two areas, so we have to learn from that.
"This is a one-off game. They have some big players back this time and are nearly at full strength, as are we. They will be up for it and they showed us here a year ago what they can do, but we showed what we can do a few months ago. We will take a lot of confidence and belief from that win.
"We know what we are facing. They are a world-class team and previous champions, with an excellent coaching staff. We struggled against New Zealand teams over there [the Stormers lost to the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes in New Zealand] but at home we have done well and this team of ours, when challenged, can take a step up."
The Stormers’ Super Rugby playoff record is poor with one win in eight games — the 2010 semifinal against the Waratahs.
It’s a statistic that is hauled out at this stage of the season and Fleck admits the team is aware of it, although he claims they are not worrying about what can’t be altered.
"Last year, we probably tried to change too much in the week before the quarterfinal," Fleck said. "So we are treating it as just another game. We know that there is pressure from fans and critics about the Stormers’ record in playoffs, but we can’t dwell on that. We just have to get on with the job."