DHL Stormers Could Be Asked To Work Hard Against Cardiff

 

The DHL Stormers and Cardiff will close out this weekend's United Rugby Championship games in Cape Town at the DHL Stadium today at 14h00.

The hosts will look to march on from their big win against Zebre Parma last week when they take on Cardiff.

Adding to the Capetonians’ motivation, they haven’t won three home games in a row since 2020.

The winning margins between the teams have been close, with the eighth-placed Capetonians earning five victories in their 11 games and Cardiff (in 13th position), sitting on four wins from nine games, meaning it could be a tight tussle.

After the loss of Cardiff against the Emirates Lions a week ago with 37-20, one would expect this to be an easy win for the DHL Stormers today, however, I do think we will see a much-improved performance from the visitors forcing the Stormers to work hard for a close victory.

Captain Steven Kitshoff returns for the DHL Stormers. Kitshoff is back to take his place at loosehead prop after being rested last week, with Brok Harris shifting across to tighthead and Neethling Fouche among the replacements.

The backline that did duty against Zebre Parma in Stellenbosch last week is unchanged.

The only other change to the match-day squad sees hooker Chad Solomon come onto the replacements bench in place of the injured Andre-Hugo Venter.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the focus is on building some winning momentum after last week’s performance against Zebre Parma.

“We have managed to keep some continuity in our team this week which is pleasing.

“We know that we can improve in many areas and we will have to be sharp as ever to get the result we need on Sunday,” he said.

Theo Cabango will make his United Rugby Championship for Cardiff today. The academy wing made his first-team debut for the Blue and Blacks during the Heineken Champions Cup doubleheader in December and has impressed for the Rags since topping the Indigo Group Premiership try-scoring charts.

Cabango replaces Aled Summerhill on the wing, who is ruled out with a concussion, while Jason Harries is also brought into the back three with Matthew Morgan retaining his spot at full-back.

Rey Lee-Lo, who was another casualty from the defeat to Emirates Lions at Cape Town, is sidelined and replaced by Max Llewellyn, who partners Ben Thomas in midfield.

A further three changes were made to the pack.

Kristian Dacey will wear the number two jersey, making his first start of the season, alongside Corey Domachowski and Dmitri Arhip in the front row.

Rory Thornton links up with Matthew Screech at second row, which sees captain Josh Turnbull switching to the back row. Welsh international Ellis Jenkins replaces Will Boyde on the openside, with number eight James Botham completing the starting XV.

“The initial thing for us with the younger players was to bring these guys out, not necessarily for the experience. We knew, with one or two injuries, that these guys could figure, and that’s the case with Theo," said director of rugby, Young.

“You can see, week-on-week, that they’re developing and getting more experience.

“They’re playing at that level, and they don’t look out of place at all at our level. We’re determined, between now and the end of the season, to give them some game-time.”

He continued: “The tempo and physicality of the Stormers' game will be a real test for us. Set piece will always be a challenge.

“We’ve obviously got to win collisions early doors in phases and make sure they’re playing off the slow-ish ball. That will give us the chance to halt their go-forward.

“For me, it’s all about the gain line, physicality and winning collisions. If they get quick ball it could be a long night for us."

Scrum-half Ellis Bevan is in-line for his first outing of the season from the bench, as academy products Teddy Williams, Garyn Smith and Keiron Assiratti return to the squad.

A total of 16 of the matchday 23 are homegrown products of the Cardiff pathway.

Weather: 23° with 5km/h S wind, with clear skies with 68% humidity.
Prediction: DHL Stormers by 10.

Teams:

DHL Stormers: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Seabelo Senatla, 13. Ruhan Nel, 12. Damian Willemse, 11. Leolin Zas, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Herschel Jantjies, 8. Evan Roos, 7. Hacjivah Dayimani, 6. Deon Fourie, 5. Marvin Orie, 4. Adre Smith, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff (c). Replacements: 16. Chad Solomon, 17. Ali Vermaak, 18. Neethling Fouche, 19. Ernst van Rhyn, 20. Junior Pokomela, 21. Paul de Wet, 22. Tim Swiel, 23. Rikus Pretorius.

Cardiff: 15. Matthew Morgan, 14. Jason Harries, 13. Max Llewellyn, 12. Ben Thomas, 11. Theo Cabango, 10. Jarrod Evans, 9. Lloyd Williams, 8. James Botham, 7. Ellis Jenkins, 6. Josh Turnbull (c), 5. Rory Thornton, 4. Matthew Screech, 3. Dmitri Arhip, 2. Kristian Dacey, 1. Corey Domachowski. Replacements: 16. Keiron Assiratti, 17. Brad Thyer, 18. Will Davies-King, 19. Teddy Williams, 20. Will Boyde, 21. Ellis Bevan, 22. Garyn Smith, 23. Hallam Amos.