It wasn't long after the final whistle of the Blues' victory against the Cheetahs at Eden Park last weekend that skipper James Parsons' thoughts switched to the Stormers and in particular their skills and attack coach Paul Feeney.

Feeney, a former skills adviser at the Blues, is in the first of three seasons at the Cape Town franchise and this clash against his old team is one he appears desperate to win in order to secure bragging rights.

The same applies to hooker Parsons. It's a side issue of course and all done in the spirit of fun; the main focus for the Blues is to keep winning in order to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs, but getting one up on Feeney would be a significant bonus for Parsons and his teammates.

"I'm pumped," Parsons said after the 50-32 win over the Cheetahs which stretched the Blues' winning streak to three. "He's been talking that much rubbish. I keep in contact with him and he's pretty confident. I haven't said too much, I just want to do my talking on the field and the beauty of it is I get to be on the field and he doesn't. I keep reminding him of that.


"We've got to do the job up front first but there's a little bit of extra motivation there."

Feeney seems to have made a difference to the Stormers, who were known as traditionally tough to break down but lacking in terms of their offensive nous and skills.

The Stormers upset the Chiefs at Newlands in round six - the only overseas team to beat a New Zealand Super Rugby outfit so far this season - but since then have lost four matches in a row to the Lions, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes.

Despite their run, they are playing with more confidence when they do have the ball and Feeney can take some credit for that. One of the try assists of the season came from Stormers wing Dillyn Leyds in his team's 34-26 win over the Chiefs, a no-look behind-the-back pass when he was sitting on the pitch.

It was a miracle offload that SP Marais did well to catch for his try as it must have been so unexpected.

The Stormers, who didn't play a New Zealand team in the round-robin last year and were tipped over by the Chiefs at Newlands in their quarter-final, had a tough time of it during their recent tour here, but their bye last weekend will have allowed them to re-group.

In Feeney they will have all the insight regarding the Blues they should need and for his part the Kiwi believes South Africans as a whole embrace the game with more passion than New Zealanders.

He told the Stormers magazine: "Coming to the first game against the Bulls, there were about 1500 outside waiting for our bus to turn up and a crowd of 36,000 at the match. That was overwhelming and really showed how much people love the game here."

He added of the New Zealand teams' success this season: "New Zealand rugby is riding the crest of a wave with their depth at the moment and that's the massive difference we're seeing compared with the rest of the [Super Rugby] sides."