The team barely had time to enjoy last week’s decisive victory over the Cheetahs before they were on the plane to Cape Town, where they’ll face the Stormers at 5am on Saturday morning (NZ time).
In stark contrast, the Stormers have enjoyed a week of rest and rehabilitation after what can only be described as a disastrous tour of New Zealand. The South Africans faced the Crusaders, Highlanders, and Hurricanes in consecutive weeks, losing every match and conceding 155 points in the process.
At home, though, the Stormers will be a different kettle of fish, having already upset the Chiefs at Newlands with a fast and thrilling brand of rugby in round seven.
Historically, our team has tended to struggle overseas, but having already beaten the Rebels, Waratahs, and Brumbies away this year, it’s fair to say that the Blues in 2017 are made of much sterner stuff. So the Stormers will have to play well to beat us. And our team will have to play well to beat them.
This match is shaping up to be a good one, with not a huge amount of statistics separating the two sides. The Blues have scored marginally more points than the Stormers (332 v 317) and conceded less (268 v 310), but the South African side has superior kicking and turnover stats, and will be all the better for playing at home after just having had the bye.
This contest will be worth getting out of bed bright and early for. Kick-off is at 5am Saturday morning.
1996: Blues beat Western Province 48-30 at Auckland
1997: No match
1998: Blues 74-28 at Auckland
1999: Stormers 37-23 at Cape Town
2000: Stormers 39-18 at Auckland
2001: Blues 26-12 at Cape Town
2002: Blues 25-6 at Auckland
2003: Blues 36-8 at Cape Town
2004: Stormers 51-23 at Auckland
2005: Blues 37-24 at Cape Town
2006: Blues 32-15 at Auckland
2007: Stormers 33-20 at Cape Town
2008: Blues 17-14 at Auckland
2009: Blues 14-8 at Cape Town
2010: Stormers 33-21 at Auckland
2011: Stormers 28-26 at Auckland
2012: Stormers 27-17 at Cape Town
2013: Blues 18-17 at Albany
2015: Stormers 27-16 at Cape Town
Matches: 18. Blues 10 wins, Western Province/Stormers 8.
Highest scores: Blues 74 at Auckland 1998; Stormers 51 at Auckland 2004.
Biggest winning margin: Blues 46 (74-28) at Auckland 1998; Stormers 28 (51-23) at Auckland 2004.
Photo of Melani Nanai vs Cheetahs by Photosport NZ