Stormers boss Robbie Fleck reckons the depth of talent in the squad will boost their Super Rugby prospects this season.
The Cape side went into Super Hero Sunday with a largely second-string team for the pre-season carnival of rugby at Cape Town Stadium.
Fleck kept Springbok stars like captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Kitshoff and Bongi Mbonambi in the stands, while Eben Etzebeth is nearing his return from a long-term injury.
But the team that ran out in their Thor-inspired jerseys were more than a match for the Bok-studded Bulls and pulled off a 33-28 win.
Fleck says: “It’s only healthy for our group that a lot of our players stepped up. It’s good to see that we’ve built depth. It gives us a lot of energy and confidence knowing we could match them, especially in the first half.
“It’s certainly good for our youngsters, not a lot of them have played against players of that calibre or in front of a crowd of almost 50 000.”
“We’ve been trying to build this team over the last four years, and this will certainly give us confidence. It was a really great outing for us.
“The big difference between this year and last year is last year we didn’t have to do much big competition in the group.
“This year we do, and it improves our training sessions so much, so hopefully we’ll play better.”
The Stormers raced into a 21-0 lead in the first quarter of the match thanks to their play when the game broke loose. And Fleck admits that that is one of his team’s focuses.
He says: “It’s something we’ve been working on.
“In Super Rugby teams tend to play a bit more, so if they make a mistake, it makes them quite vulnerable.
“I believe there’s still a lot out there in terms of our attack, which is a positive.
“Our 22-metre attack was also good, and the pleasing aspect is that there are still work-ons.”
After all the fun and games, Fleck says he will bring some of his Boks back for their final warm-up match against Boland this Friday before taking on the Bulle at Loftus in next Saturday’s Super Rugby opener.