The DHL Stormers Need To Be At Their Best For The Full 80 Minutes Against Edinburgh


DHL Stormers will wrap up the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals' weekend against Edinburgh in Cape Town at 19h00 on Saturday.

A victory for the DHL Stormers will guarantee them a home semi-final after finishing the league stages of the competition in second place on the log, but they will have their work cut out against the Scottish outfit who have only suffered two defeats fewer than them, while the hosts scored only 43 more points in their 18 matches so far in the competition.

The Capetonians have also only been marginally better on defence conceding only seven points fewer, meaning it could be a hard grind.

That said, the DHL Stormers will rely heavily on their home ground advantage and their eight-match winning streak to give them an edge, as well as their favourable home track record which shows only one defeat in the Mother City.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, have won only two of their last four encounters, while they have not registered back-to-back victories since January, which will fuel their motivation going into the clash.

The sides have met just once before in round three of the competition and the result was a 20-all draw.

Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and centre Rikus Pretorius will make their return for the DHL Stormers. The inclusion of Jantjies and Pretorius are the only changes from the team that started the win against Scarlets in Llanelli.

Jantjies starts at scrumhalf, while Pretorius is at inside centre in place of Damian Willemse, who has been ruled out due to an arm injury.

The only other changes to the matchday squad see lock Adre Smith and debutant utility back Sacha Mngomezulu included among the replacements.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that his team want to make the most of the opportunity to play a quarterfinal in front of their faithful supporters.

“A lot of hard work has gone into securing this home quarterfinal, so we are determined to rise to the occasion.

“It has been a good week of preparation and everyone is excited about what should be a memorable day.

“We want to raise the intensity and make sure that we are at our best for the full 80 minutes, playing the kind of rugby that has got us into this position,” he said.

Dobson said that while Willemse had been given as much time as possible to prove his fitness, it was decided not to risk him with Pretorius ready to step in.

“We gave Damian as much time as we could to make it for this match, but in the end it was not worth the risk, especially as we have a quality player in Rikus to start at 12. It also gives the talented Sacha Mngomezulu an opportunity to show what he can do when he comes on,” he added.

Scotland international winger Darcy Graham will make his 50th appearance for Edinburgh Rugby as one change is named to the side’s starting XV to face DHL Stormers.

Henry Pyrgos starts at scrum-half in place of the injured Ben Vellacott in the only alteration to the side that claimed a 28-11 derby win against Glasgow Warriors a fortnight ago.

Tomorrow night’s knockout encounter is the capital club’s first-ever fixture in Cape Town and sees Mike Blair’s side return to South Africa after becoming the first Northern Hemisphere URC team to win in South Africa earlier this season (with a 5-21 win against Cell C Sharks last April).

Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Mike Blair, said: “We’re thankful to our backfield team who were able to able to get us out to Cape Town early, giving us the best possible chance to recover and prepare for Saturday’s match by giving us a full weeks training.

“As a squad, we really benefited from our two-week tour of South Africa back in April, and its once again galvanised the guys. There’s a great feeling of togetherness with this group. They love playing for each other and representing this club.

“We’ve approached tomorrow night’s match in the same way we have all season. It's really important for us to stay relaxed and trust what we are trying to do.

“Stormers are a strong side and we know it’s going to be a huge test away from home, but we have belief and confidence in the way we want to play.”

An unchanged back-three sees Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli – this week named in the Pumas squad for the upcoming Summer Series against Scotland – continue at full-back alongside capped wingers Graham and Damien Hoyland.

Centres Chris Dean and Mark Bennett once again link-up in midfield as stand-off Blair Kinghorn – a try-scorer against Warriors two weeks ago – and Pyrgos combine at half-back.

Hooker Dave Cherry packs down alongside Scotland props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman as an unaltered lock pairing of Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Hodgson complete the tight-five.

An all-Scotland back-row sees number 8 Magnus Bradbury once again selected alongside flankers Luke Crosbie (blindside) and Hamish Watson (openside).


DHL Stormers: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Seabelo Senatla, 13. Ruhan Nel, 12. Rikus Pretorius, 11. Leolin Zas, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Herschel Jantjies, 8. Evan Roos, 7. Hacjivah Dayimani, 6. Deon Fourie, 5. Marvin Orie, 4. Salmaan Moerat, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. JJ Kotze, 1. Steven Kitshoff (c). Replacements: 16. Andre-Hugo Venter, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Neethling Fouche, 19. Adre Smith, 20. Ernst van Rhyn, 21. Nama Xaba, 22. Godlen Masimla, 23. Sacha Mngomezulu.

Edinburgh: 15. Emiliano Boffelli, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Damien Hoyland, 10. Blair Kinghorn, 9. Henry Pyrgos, 8. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 6. Luke Crosbie, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 5. Grant Gilchrist (c), 4. Jamie Hodgson, 3. WP Nel, 2. Dave Cherry, 1. Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16. Adam McBurney, 17. Harrison Courtney, 18. Lee-Roy Atalifo, 19. Marshall Sykes, 20. Ben Muncaster, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Jaco van der Walt, 23. James Lang.