Super Rugby

Sharks v Stormers always 'special'

Cape Town - Both are rich in history and tradition, both play on the coast, both have passionate and expectant groups of supporters, both have never won Super Rugby and on Saturday both the Stormers and the Sharks will go into their Newlands clash undefeated. 

The coaches - Robbie Fleck and Gary Gold - played their hands on Thursday, the Stormers making four changes to their starting line-up while the Sharks go in unchanged. 

The magnitude of the derby was perhaps best highlighted by the fact that, on Thursday, both Fleck and Gold revealed that this weekend's clash would be their biggest test of the season so far.

"It’s always been like that, ever since I was a player," Stormers coach Fleck said.

"It’s always an intense battle and always a big physical battle. It’s a special game to be involved in and to play and there’s always that big ivalry between the sides. I think it’s quite similar in terms of our approach … it’s going to be an interesting tussle."

Gold agreed.

"This is why we work so hard and this is what the players play for," he said.

"We feel incredibly energised about having such a test of where we are at this stage of the season.

"We believe this is going to be our biggest Super Rugby test to date."

Respect, said Gold, was something the sides had for each other in abundance.

"I don’t sense that there’s bitterness between the teams … just a mutual respect," he said.

"These games are also a mini-Springbok trial in many ways.

"I love the fact that these games are important to us and they mean a huge amount … it’s a respect thing.

"It’s about putting a stake in the ground and earning our stripes back. We want to go there and make our supporters proud again."

Fleck, meanwhile, is under no illusions.

"They are a very balanced side at the moment and I like the look of them," he said. 

"It's two form sides with similar approaches and philosophies so it's the biggest one that we're going to face so far."

The match kicks off at 17:15.

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