'Tahs facing stormy semi

THE second Super 14 rugby semifinal between the Stormers and Waratahs at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday evening is shaping up as a humdinger with the "sold out" signs up as early as Monday morning.

THE second Super 14 rugby semifinal between the Stormers and Waratahs at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday evening is shaping up as a humdinger with the "sold out" signs up as early as Monday morning.

Stormers coach Alistair Coetzee, who has yet to name his team, is expected to stick to the side that beat the Bulls 38-10 last Saturday.

The only injury concern is that of winger Gio Aplon, who suffered a concussion early in the first half when he was illegally cleared out from a maul by the Bulls' Bakkies Botha.

"He hasn't trained for a couple of days and the medical staff are keeping an eye on him," Stormers assistant coach Matt Proudfoot told Sowetan yesterday.

"It's a testament to what a courageous player he is that he managed to hang in there for the team after suffering the injury."

It has been 11 years since the Stormers were last in a Super 14 semifinal and tension is likely to be rising in the camp.

The Stormers supporters are renowned for their fanatical support and it will take nothing less than a win to send them home in a happy mood.

Is the team affected by the hype?

"We don't want to get caught up too much in that and will draw on the experience of our coaching staff who have played in semifinals and finals.

"Robbie (Fleck) played in that semifinal in 1999 so he will be sharing his experiences with us," Proudfoot said.

When the teams met in round two of the competition in February, the Stormers ran away with the game to win 27-6, but that was then.

The Stormers' turnaround this season has been revealing. The underachievers in previous Super 14 competitions have turned on the gas this year after signing superstars Bryan Habana and Jacques Fourie.

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