The Hurricanes may have lost some All Blacks but Stormers skipper Schalk Burger is still expecting a stern test on Saturday, explaining that there is no such thing as a weak New Zealand Super Rugby side.
The Wellington franchise said goodbye to key players such as Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu, Hosea Gear and Andrew Hore at the end of last season, and many are tipping Mark Hammett's young team to battle this season, but Burger refuses to believe that any team from New Zealand will simply roll over.
He commented: "They are a quality side, we are not going to call them depleted, there is no such thing as a New Zealand Super Rugby side that is depleted.
"I know a lot has been said that it is a different-looking Hurricanes side but from my point of view it hasn't changed our preparations and we are looking forward to a proper clash.
"The Hurricanes are always a tough side and they are a side that have been in the top half of the Super Rugby standings more often than not so we have prepared accordingly," said Burger.
The Springbok flank explained that the visitors still have plenty of fine players who will be keen to prove that they can be competitive as a unit this season, adding that he expects them to throw everything at the Stormers.
"They have a lot of talent, we obviously had a look at a few of their warm-up matches and they have still got some quality players," he said.
While both teams have some exciting talent in their backlines Burger is convinced that the tone will be set up front and is desperate for the Stormers forward pack to put the team on the front foot.
"Playing against any New Zealand side they do pose a big physical threat, it is something they pride themselves on.
"At the end of the day we keep it very simple - it is nothing out of the blue, it is nothing new, it is up to our forwards to get this game going and put the team on the front foot.
"It is a lot easier said than done, but we will be looking for a big performance from our front eight this weekend," he said.
Another factor at Newlands on Saturday will be the support that all New Zealand sides enjoy in the Cape, which is something that Burger remains philosophical about, reasoning that all his team can do is play as well as possible.
"As always when New Zealand sides come to Cape Town the crowd tends to be split into two in certain parts of the ground, but we are looking to build a fortress here at Newlands because home games are very important.
"Obviously it is not up to us, it has been there all the ten years that I have been playing at Newlands, you can't make choices for them and I hope that people do change their minds but obviously there are Stormers supporters out there and we have got a soft spot for them and not such a soft spot for a guy with an All Blacks jersey," he said.
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