Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
3 Dec 2021
4:17 pm

Stormers out to end ‘interesting’ 2021 on a high against Lions

Ross Roche

"There is a great energy in the group, it’s the last game of the year and our first game in front of a crowd at home.”

Stormers coach John Dobson is hoping to end the 2021 year on a high with a win against the Lions. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The Stormers are fully prepared for the challenge of the Lions as the teams battle it out in their United Rugby Championship clash at the Cape Town City Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kickoff 5pm).

It has been a disruptive past two weeks with the original fixtures against EU and UK opposition being postponed due to the new Covid variant, but the teams can finally put all that out of their minds and get down to business in their rescheduled match up.

“I think we have prepared very well since we came back after the break after tour and we would have loved to have played last week. There is a great energy in the group, it’s the last game of the year and our first game in front of a crowd at home,” explained Stormers coach John Dobson.

“So we are really looking forward to it. I think we have gotten over the frustrations of last week. We would have loved to have played the European teams in South Africa. I think it would have given everyone a better indication of where we are in terms of this tournament.

“But that is all out of our control, so we are ready for an attractive high tempo game of rugby tomorrow and we are well prepared for it.”

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It has been a stop start affair for the South African teams in their first URC campaign, with them starting with a four week EU and UK tour before taking a month off for the November internationals before they were supposed to host a two week home leg against the foreign sides.

However that then changed suddenly last week and with the match now a home derby it has raised the stakes considerably for both teams.

“It has been a pretty interesting up and down year for South African rugby. It has been quite an intense year so we just want to play and finish it off on a high,” admitted Dobson.

“Local derbies are very important as the top team in the pool qualifies automatically for the Champions League next year, so these are big games for us in terms of the points swing.

“So it has been very disruptive for us in the build up but it has been just as disruptive for the Lions, so we are both in the same boat and are just happy to be able to play.”