Stormers captain talks up Sharks

Getty Images

James Mortimer     29 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The Sharks had to defeat the defending champions at their fortress in Brisbane, and to win their first title, will need to now triumph at Newlands against the South African Conference champions, and then fly to Hamilton to knock off the high flying Chiefs.

The men from Durban may be underdogs due to home advantage for the Stormers and the travel factor, but Jean de Villiers felt this could motivate the Sharks to etch their names in Super Rugby history.

"If the Sharks can beat us and then go to New Zealand to play the Crusaders or the Chiefs, and then win there too, then it will be the greatest achievement and the greatest performance in the history of the Super Rugby competition,”  he said.

“The unfortunate thing is that they are quite capable of doing it."

The Stormers biggest challenge will be to front up, with many of their faithful accusing them of lying down when losing to the Crusaders in the corresponding match last season.

De Villiers warned they need to be prepared up stairs.

“The thing about this stage of the season is that you enter a different space mentally," he said.

"When you get to this stage, the motivation is there, you know it is the defining moment of the season, and an edge is introduced.

"It enables you to overcome the things that might normally stop you from playing well.”

De Villiers felt the advantage of winning the South African Conference last year and earning a week off wasn't handled well.

“Last year we took the whole week off and only got together to start the build-up to the semifinal on the Monday before the game,” he said.

“This year have done it differently. We got together again on the Thursday after the last league match, and have worked hard at keeping ourselves sharp. We feel better mentally prepared this year than last season. I feel we are in a good space for this game.”