URC – Preview – DHL Stormers Will Look To Inflict Further Damage On Leinster


The DHL Stormers will look to inflict further damage on Leinster on Saturday at 19:05 (SA Time), following their thumping against the Emirates Lions last weekend as they look to remain in the top eight and in the longer term to possibly leap into the top four in the closing rounds.

The Capetonians will face a desperate Leinster outfit, who now hold only a narrow one-point lead at the top of the standings, but who have the bragging rights as the second-best attacking team in the competition.

However, the DHL Stormers are not far off from Leinster on defence, while they will also draw inspiration from the fact that they played to a 22-22 in the last outing between the sides in Ireland last season, meaning it could prove to be a spectacle.

Prop Brok Harris will become the first player to reach 150 appearances for the DHL Stormers while loosies Evan Roos and Marcel Theunissen will both bring up the milestone of 50 matches for the DHL Stormers.

Harris is joined in the front row by Neethling Fouche and Joseph Dweba, while captain Salmaan Moerat will partner Ruben van Heerden in the second row.

Roos and Theunissen will link up with Ben-Jason Dixon in the loose trio, with hooker Andre-Hugo Venter and lock Connor Evans joining the matchday squad this week on the replacements bench.

There are just two changes to the backline, with Damian Willemse alongside Dan du Plessis in midfield and Herschel Jantjies in at scrumhalf.

DHL Stormers Director of Rugby John Dobson paid tribute to the three players reaching milestones in what is a critical match for his side.

“Nobody has played more times for the DHL Stormers than Brok Harris. This is a remarkable achievement and we couldn’t be happier for him. He is a top rugbyman in every sense.

“Evan and Marcel have hit the 50 mark early in their careers and while they have a lot to be proud of, we know that there is much more to come from both of them,” he said.

Dobson added that this match is set to be one for the ages given the context of the season.

“Hosting Leinster at DHL Stadium is a massive game no matter the circumstances, but with both teams looking to bounce back from defeat last week and the play-offs fast approaching we are expecting an epic duel,” he said.

Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen has named his match day 23 with a number of changes from the team that played against the Emirates Lions last weekend and there are a number of notable additions to the bench with Gus McCarthy in line to make his debut and both Charlie Tector and Martin Moloney in line to make their first appearance of the season after long-standing injury issues.

In the starting XV, it’s a back three of Henry McErlean, Liam Turner and Rob Russell for the match in Cape Town, with Charlie Ngatai and Ben Brownlee lining up at centre.

Cormac Foley and Sam Prendergast are the starting halfbacks selected by Cullen.

In the front row, Michael Milne, John McKee and Michael Ala’alatoa start this week, with Brian Deeny and Jason Jenkins selected behind them in the second row. Deeny was selected to start last week but was a late withdrawal through injury but has come through the week well.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock, captain Scott Penny and Max Deegan complete the pack. Gus McCarthy is in line to make his debut at hooker tomorrow should he be introduced.

The 20-year-old captained his school Blackrock College to a Bank of Ireland Leinster Schools Senior Cup success and was also captain of the Ireland U-20s that won the Grand Slam and reached the World Championship Final in South Africa.

There is also a welcome return to action for back row forward Martin Moloney who hasn’t played since October 2022 against the Scarlets, and also for outhalf Charlie Tector, who returns nearly a year to the day since his last involvement against the Bulls in April 2023.


DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (c), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris. Replacements: Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Wandisile Simelane.

Leinster: 15 Henry McErlean, 14 Liam Turner, 13 Ben Brownlee, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Rob Russell, 10 Sam Prendergast, 9 Cormac Foley, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Scott Penny (c), 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Brian Deeny, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 John McKee, 1 Michael Milne. Replacements: 16 Gus McCarthy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Thomas Clarkson, 19 Conor O’Tighearnaigh, 20 Diarmuid Mangan, 21 Fintan Gunne, 22 Charlie Tector, 23 Martin Moloney.