URC: Hacjivah Dayimani and Stormers ‘expect a totally different battle’ from Connacht
Despite shining during their United Rugby Championship (URC) league match against Connacht in Stellenbosch last September, Stormers flanker Hacjivah Dayimani is not underestimating the Irish province ahead of Saturday’s semi-final in Cape Town.
The 25-year-old walked off with the official man-of-the-match award as the Stormers sealed a 38-15 win over the men from Galway in their first outing since being crowned champions of the inaugural 2021/22 campaign.
Not taking Connacht lightly
But despite outplaying Connacht in the league fixture, Dayimani is wary of Connacht‘s threat especially after they claimed a shock 15-10 victory over Ulster in their quarter-final at Kingspan Stadium last Friday.
“We expect a totally different battle to what we got in Stellenbosch,” he told the Stormers‘ official website. “We’ve seen what Connacht is capable of doing just by watching the Ulster game.
“We don’t expect an easy game, in fact there’s no game this season where we’ve underestimated our opponents. Every game we’ve gone into with the mindset to win.
“Our mission from the beginning of the season and our mission now hasn’t changed. It doesn’t matter which player wears which jersey. All that matters is, when you wear the DHL Stormers jersey, you are aligned with our mission.
“We are willing to do anything and everything to win this URC title and our main mission is Connacht. That’s all we are talking about and after last week we are wary of what they are capable of.”
Dayimani, openside flanker Deon Fourie and number eight Evan Roos combined brilliantly in the Stormers’ 33-21 URC quarter-final victory over the Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday.
It was the first time that the three of them featured in the same back-row this year, with the last match in which the trio linked up being against Edinburgh in October and Dayimani couldn’t hide his delight at being reunited with Fourie and Roos.
“It’s been a while since the trio has been on the same field at the same time so it’s something I’m looking forward to,” said Dayimani. “We all offer something different on the field and that’s what makes us click.
“When each guy does his circus act effectively it makes a massive difference on the field and against the Vodacom Bulls there were glimpses of it.”
A record crowd of 44,109 spectators attended the Bulls match and Dayimani is hoping that the Stormers will receive similar support against Connacht.
“It’s so beautiful to see. A few years ago just before Covid, the stadiums felt empty and now people are rushing to watch us play,” he added. “Our main goal is to make Cape Town smile.
‘It’s bigger than rugby’
“The people of Cape Town love rugby so much that even the car guard is telling you to please win because he bought tickets for his family to come watch. In other words, it’s bigger than rugby, it’s bigger than me and you and that’s what we as the DHL Stormers players play for.
“The amount of DHL Stormers jerseys you see at the taxi rank or in the city shows you the mission we are busy with.
“That’s the main reason we decided to step up last season. We give our people a reason to come and watch us play. The DHL Stormers represent the diversity South Africa has.”
READ MORE: URC: Stormers admit Cape Town Stadium pitch is ‘on its last legs’
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