The DHL Stormers Looking To End Worst Ever Start To URC Against Cardiff


The DHL Stormers are on a three-game losing streak, their worst-ever sequence in the United Rugby Championship, and in Cardiff they will be facing the only Welsh team they have lost to so far in the competition when they run out at the Arms Park on Friday at 21:35.

Although Cardiff have won just one home game in the URC in the past 12 months, by 30-13 against Benetton in February, they have beaten the DHL Stormers before.

In fact, the DHL Stormers’ only defeat to a Welsh region was 24-30 on their only previous visit to the Arms Park to face Cardiff in October 2022.

Ellis Jenkins will make his 100th United Rugby Championship appearance for Cardiff. The open-side flanker made his league debut during the 2011-12 season and has established himself as a key player in Blue and Black with 139 first team appearances in total.

Jenkins is named in an unchanged back-row but there are five changes elsewhere in the pack where Corey Domachowski returns to the starting XV, alongside Will Davies-King, who makes his first start of the season. Elsewhere Seb Davies continues at lock, where he is joined by Rory Thornton.

There are two further changes in the back-line with Ellis Bevan handed the number nine jersey, after Tomos Williams was ruled out due to a short-term injury, and Willis Halaholo replaces Rey Lee-Lo.

Cardiff sealed a thrilling victory over the Stormers on the last occasion the two teams met at the Arms Park in October 2023.

Cardiff Rugby head coach, Matt Sherratt said: “We were disappointed with the draw last week and felt the players deserved more. However, that’s sport and you do not always get what you deserve.

“Given the manner in which the game finished, the boys have been chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch.

“We have fond memories of facing the Stormers at the Arms Park a year ago and are hoping for another good Friday night crowd with a great atmosphere.

“The Stormers are a quality team and they will be determined to finish their four games on the road with a victory.

“They play a really high risk, high reward game, which will put pressure on us and test our skill-set so we will need to be really accurate.

“We are all really looking forward to the challenge and will do everything possible to give our home crowd something to get behind and hopefully celebrate.”

There are two potential debutants on the bench, with academy product Mackenzie Martin and new loan-signing Gabriel Hamer-Webb both included for the first time.

Prop Brok Harris will captain the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against Cardiff on Friday, which will see him bring up 400 senior professional caps.

The DHL Stormers will be led out by Harris, who has 135 DHL Stormers caps, to go with over 100 for both DHL Western Province and the Dragons. He will go level with Steven Kitshoff as the most-capped DHL Stormers player on Friday night.

Harris leads a team which features a host of changes as the DHL Stormers look to end their tour on a high.

The experienced prop is joined in the front row by tighthead Lee-Marvin Mazibuko and hooker Andre-Hugo Venter.

Adre Smith starts in the second row alongside Ruben van Heerden, while Nama Xaba and Marcel Theunissen will be on the flanks.

Stefan Ungerer makes his first start of the season at scrumhalf, while Courtnall Skosan is on the right wing and Clayton Blommetjies is at fullback in the only other changes to the backline.

The replacements bench features hooker Scarra Ntubeni and lock Connor Evans, who were not part of the matchday squad last week, while utility forward Hendre Stassen is set to make his DHL Stormers debut.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is determined to end their tour on a high in Cardiff.

“We are really excited to see how the players coming in go this week. It has been a long tour and this is a crucial game for us.

“There have been some injury disruptions to the squad with the likes of Gary Porter, Joseph Dweba, Evan Roos, Ben-Jason Dixon and Angelo Davids all unavailable for this match, but this team will be going all-out to get the win.

“We know that we face a big challenge at Cardiff Arms Park, but it is one we are looking forward to taking on,” he said.


Cardiff: 15 Cam Winnett, 14 Harri Millard, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Mason Grady, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Ellis Bevan, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Alex Mann, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Will Davies-King, 2 Liam Belcher (c), 1 Corey Domachowski. Replacements: 16 Evan Lloyd, 17 Rhys Carré, 18 Rhys Litterick, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Jamie Hill, 22 Jacob Beetham, 23 Gabriel Hamer-Webb.

Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Brok Harris (c). Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Hendré Stassen, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.