It is the second time the two sides are meeting in the competition, after they clashed in the pool stage in December.

The Stormers are preparing for a game that they are expecting to be played at the intensity of an international Test match when they host La Rochelle in their Champions Cup last 16 clash at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

La Rochelle are double defending competition champs and have a slew of internationals across their team, while the Stormers also boast a number of Springbok stars in their ranks.

It is also the second time these two sides are meeting in the competition to date, after they clashed in the pool stage back in December, when the Stormers emerged with a last gasp 21-20 win that kick started a good winning run for them.

World-class players

However, La Rochelle will now have a good idea of what they will face in Cape Town, and having beaten an internationally laden Leinster in two consecutive finals, will know exactly what they need to do to progress. The Stormers will have to be prepared for that challenge.

“It is a round 16 game. They are two-time champions of Europe. They have world class players and so do we,” said Stormers assistant coach Norman Laker.

“But the game will definitely be at Test match intensity. A number of our players and theirs have played internationally.

“I think what is going to be very important is the team that makes the least errors is most likely going to walk away with the win.

“There are actually a few (Champions Cup) games that are the same, with teams who played each other in the pool phase playing against each other in the first knockout round.

“Since we have played them before it has given us a good indication of what we are going to face and what we are up for, so we know what to expect and are ready for the challenge.”

Tight victory

The Stormers head into the match off the back of a very tight 13-7 win over Ulster in the United Rugby Championship (URC), which took them until the 73rd minute to take the lead for the first time before going on to finish off strongly.

It was a poor first half and a much better second, but the Stormers know they have plenty of things to fix over the week so that they can be fully prepared for La Rochelle.

“It was a tough game. Ulster is a quality outfit. We played against them two years ago in a semifinal where we beat them in the 87th minute. They have a lot of internationals playing for them and one of our home-grown legends (Steven Kitshoff),” said Laker.

“So there were a few work-ons that we have addressed today (Tuesday) and yesterday to make sure that we prepare well for Saturdays game.”

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