Stormers wary of Fekitoa factor

Malakai Fekitoa was at the heart of a Vodacom URC grand final upset when he last faced the DHL Stormers, who are wary of the ex-All Black’s influence for Benetton.

Fekitoa started at inside centre when Munster claimed successive wins over the Stormers in Cape Town last season, including the 19-14 win in the final.

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The 31-year-old, who represented Tonga at the World Cup, has since completed his move to Italy and has proved a hit in his first two games for his new side.

After helping Benetton hold on for a draw against Munster, Fekitoa dotted down in a 15-10 home victory over the Lions.

With the Stormers looking to bounce back from a disappointing tour-opening defeat in Glasgow, assistant coach Labeeb Levy said they are on guard against letting Fekitoa influence Saturday’s match in Treviso.

“He comes with a wealth of experience and won a URC. He’s also won a few Rugby Championships,” Levy said.

“What you find with experienced players like that, it’s not only them that is the threat, but it’s how they allow the people around them to play.

“You can see that people are excited to play alongside him. He was an All Black and is an international. I could see when he scored that try, he was quite vociferous and excited.

“He will be a danger man, but we are also focused on four or five players, guys who are their playmakers. We have built our plans around that and put a good focus on our own game this week, instead of just focusing on what Benetton is going to bring.”

Photo: ©Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

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