Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
26 Apr 2022
11:11 am

Stormers in the hunt for top spot in URC pool stage

Ross Roche

The Stormers have enjoyed a remarkable turnaround this year.

Stormers players celebrate a try during their URC match against Glasgow Warriors at Cape Town Stadium last week. Picture: Gallo Images

They will still require results to go their way but the Stormers have maneuvered their way into a position where they can realistically make a play to finish top of the United Rugby Championship log at the end of the competition’s pool stage.

Top-of-the-table Leinster hold a nine-point lead over the second-placed Stormers, with both sides having just two pool matches to play, but that lead could be cut to just four points by the end of the week.

With a packed schedule meaning Leinster opted to send a weakened side for their tour of South Africa, it allowed the Sharks to pick up a full house of points against them this past weekend.

With the current form that the Stormers are in, they will be hot favourites to do the same against Leinster at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, and if they can keep them from picking up a bonus point they will firmly be in the hunt for top spot.

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Leinster will still be favourites to finish top as they will most likely play their strongest available team in their final match of the pool stage, but they will be hosting Munster who themselves will be targeting a top-four finish and it could become a close match.

The Stormers’ last match will be away against Scarlets and if they can take their current form into that match they could target a bonus-point win to end the pool stage and possibly steal top spot.

But that will require them to do the business against Leinster this weekend and then hope Munster upsets the odds in their all-Irish match-up next month.

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It is a remarkable turnaround from the Stormers after they started the season with just one win, a draw and three losses which left them languishing in the bottom half of the table as they came into the new year.

However, since the competition resumed for them in mid-January they have gone on a brilliant run, picking up nine wins, one draw and one loss to become the leading South African team in the competition and on target to seal a top-four finish.