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Make us smile, Stormers

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The Stormers need to start with a strong victory against the Argentine visitors

Stormers captain Siya Kolis (left) and Steven Kitshoff (middle) during a practice session at Newlands on Thursday. Picture credit: Phando Jikelo (ANA)

If ever a change of scenery was needed on the South Africa rugby landscape, it is now.

The Springbok coaching saga has finally been resolved, and fans have also said goodbye to a 2017 Springbok season that was even worse than 2016.

It’s been tough times for Springbok rugby and its fans, but now the rugby-loving public can shift their focus to a new adventure – Super Rugby.

On the South African front, the Stormers will kick off the new-format competition against the Jaguares tomorrow, and the Lions will host the Sharks in Johannesburg right after the first fixture in Cape Town. The Bulls will kick start their campaign one week later.

Of course the ultimate painkiller to the upsets of the last two years in terms of Test rugby would be a much-improved Springbok season and positive results, but a Super Rugby win for a South African side (it would be the first since the Bulls lifted the trophy for a third time in 2010) would do a pretty good job of relieving some of the recent discomfort too.

While the Lions can safely be regarded as SA’s best bet again, the long-suffering Newlands fans will once again take a deep breath of hope when they wear their jerseys and their caps and their scarves tomorrow.

For many years the Stormers have flattered to deceive, but the fans have been loyal and true, and although attendances have taken a bit of dip the last couple of years, the Stormers will still run out in front of sizeable crowds.

So can the Stormers lift the title?

We will only be able to judge much further down the road. But one thing is for sure: The Stormers need to start with a strong victory against the Argentine visitors, because on Sunday night they jet off to Australia and New Zealand for a tough four-match tour.

We wish Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, captain Siya Kolisi and the team the very best of luck. We hope they will play typical “Province rugby” because that would put a lot of happy smiles on a lot of happy faces.