URC – DHL Stormers Looking To Extend Unbeaten Record At Home Against Edinburgh


The DHL Stormers will be desperate to bounce back from their defeat against the Vodacom Bulls after registering four wins in a row when they host Edinburgh at DHL Stadium on Saturday at 17:05 (SA Time).

With the Capetonians trailing the Scottish outfit by only four points, a victory could see them leap back into the top eight.

The hosts will draw comfort from the fact that they remain unbeaten at home this season to add to their better-attacking record than the visitors, but they will be mindful of the fact that the opposition has won two more matches and that they are high on confidence after coming off three wins a row, which will spice up the clash.

Salmaan Moerat makes his first start since returning from injury and will lead the DHL Stormers on Saturday.

The DHL Stormers have been boosted by the return from injury of experienced props Frans Malherbe and Lizo Gqoboka, while Wandisile Simelane makes his first start for the team at outside centre.

With Warrick Gelant being rested, Damian Willemse starts at fullback where he will link up with wings Leolin Zas and Suleiman Hartzenberg.

Simelane partners Dan du Plessis in midfield, with Manie Libbok and Paul de Wet forming the halfback combination. There are three backs on the bench in the form of Herschel Jantjies, Jurie Matthee and Ben Loader.

There is an all-new loose trio, with Evan Roos and Ben-Jason Dixon joined by Nama Xaba, who starts at openside flank with Deon Fourie ruled out with a minor injury.

Moerat is in the second row, with experienced props Malherbe and Brok Harris either side of hooker Andre-Hugo Venter.

Gqoboka is joined by Joseph Dweba, Neethling Fouche, Connor Evans and Hacjivah Dayimani on a replacement bench that is sure to play an influential role in the second half.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that his team is keen to impress at the start of a crucial sequence of home games.

“We have some serious players coming back into the mix and after over two months it will be fantastic to be back at DHL Stadium.

“There has been some good work put in over the last few weeks on the training ground and we are excited about seeing the results of that.

“We have some big games at home in this period, so it will be important for us to hit the ground running and build some momentum against what is an impressive Edinburgh side,” he said.

WP Nel will become only the third player to hit 200 appearances for Edinburgh Rugby.

Scotland internationalist Nel, 37, will fittingly enter the 200 club in Cape Town where his professional rugby career started at Western Province 16 years ago.

Having been a mainstay in the capital pack since arriving in Edinburgh in 2012, the tighthead prop now joins club legends Alan Jacobsen [273 appearances] and Chris Paterson [205] in an exclusive group of Edinburgh players.

Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re delighted to see WP hit 200 appearances for the club. He’s an Edinburgh legend and it’ll be an extremely proud moment for him and his family when he takes to the pitch at DHL Stadium tomorrow evening.

“This team doesn’t need any added motivation, but I’ve got no doubt they’ll be playing with a bit of extra fire to make it a special day for WP.”

Scotland duo Sam Skinner (lock) and Ben Healy (stand-off) both start in the South African capital, fresh from Guinness Six Nations action.

Everitt is also able to welcome Jamie Hodgson back from injury, with the Scotland lock featuring for the first time since December.

Ben Muncaster – who made his return from injury against Ospreys in Round 11 – makes his first start of the season as a blindside flanker, while academy graduate Jake Henry, 23, makes his professional debut on the wing.

Henry, who came through the ranks at Highland Rugby Club, has featured for Southern Knights and Heriot’s Rugby in the FOSROC Super Series and returns to South Africa where he was placed on the prestigious Macphail Scholarship in 2019.

Everitt continued: “It’s brilliant to welcome back experienced, quality players like Sam [Skinner] and Ben [Healy] who are both real leaders for us on the park.

“We’re also very excited to see Jake [Henry] make his professional debut for the club. He has worked extremely hard to get back from injury and he really does deserve this opportunity.

“The boys have worked tirelessly since arriving in Cape Town at the start of the week and we’re raring to go for what is always a massive challenge at DHL Stadium.”

Argentine internationalist Emiliano Boffelli starts at full-back alongside wingers Wes Goosen and debutant Henry.

Centres Matt Currie and Mark Bennett combine in the capital midfield, with scrum-half Ben Vellacott – named skipper – and stand-off Healy selected at half-back.

Hooker Dave Cherry starts alongside props Boan Venter and Nel up front as locks Skinner and Hodgson complete the tight-five.

Fijian number 8 Viliame Mata is named in the back-row alongside flankers Muncaster and Hamish Watson.


DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (c), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Brok Harris. Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jurie Matthee, 23 Ben Loader.

Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Matt Currie, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ben Vellacott (c), 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Ben Muncaster, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter. Replacements: 16 Patrick Harrison, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Tom Dodd, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Cammy Scott, 23 Chris Dean.