DHL Stormers wing Seabelo Senatla has warned his side’s opponents in Heineken Champions Cup Pool B to prepare for some South African flare in their maiden season.
United Rugby Championship teams already know what to expect from the South African outfit, as they won the URC last season in their debut campaign.
“I think it’s going to be pretty similar to what we brought to the URC,” the 29-year-old said of the DHL Stormers’ Heineken Champions Cup bow. “We brought a little bit more flare and running off the ball.
“I think the Northern Hemisphere teams tend to keep everything quite safe and that’s how they play the game – they’re quite systematic, well structured, well oiled, very technical, very tactical.
“At Stormers we try to play with more instinct and try to use intuition in our play more. You’ll see we put some air into the ball and try to use feet and skill to beat people, instead of using a whole system.”
They have a stiff pool, with their debut at ASM Clermont Auvergne on Saturday being followed by back-to-back games against London Irish before a pool finale against the French side.
First question to everyone at season launch…
Who’s lifting the #HeinekenChampionsCup this season – and they couldn’t say themselves (as much as they tried) 👀
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) November 30, 2022
“My first impressions [of the Heineken Champions Cup] would definitely be that it is something quite equivalent to the heights of something like the Champions League, if you think of soccer,” he said.
“It’s the best of the best coming out to play each other, so it’s nice for us, because as an athlete, you always want to be measuring yourself against the best.
“If you’re playing against the best of the best, then you get to measure yourself up there. It’s quite exciting for us to get our first go at it.
“You hear stories about the rich, rich history of certain clubs, your Toulons and Saracens. You want to test yourself against that history and make some of your own.”
Senatla was injured in the DHL Stormers’ opening game of the URC season and will be out until the New Year, thus missing the pool stage of this season’s tournament.
“I’m glad I’m not going to France because it’s quite cold.” he joked. “My injury came around at the right time!
“Hopefully, we’ll still be in the competition when I come back. I’ll be pushing them hard so I can play when it’s warm!”