The Stormers are set to be refreshed and ready for the massive challenge of taking on Irish powerhouse Ulster in their United Rugby Championship (URC) semifinal at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
After picking up a solid win in a bruising quarterfinal encounter against Edinburgh over the past weekend, the team received a well-deserved day off on Monday, before kicking off preparations for Ulster on Tuesday.
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“We have given the players one day off on Monday and we will start again on Tuesday,” said Stormers coach John Dobson after the game against Edinburgh.
“We know Ulster are very good, we saw what they did against Munster. But it is just one game between us and a final, so it’s a massive occasion for us.”
Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff is keen to see another sold out stadium for the semifinal, after a huge crowd turned out for the match against Edinburgh.
The Cape Town side will be looking to take their impressive momentum into the match and will be aiming to continue doing what has worked for them over the past few months.
Especially after their previous clash against Ulster ended in controversial fashion as a big reffing call went against the visitors, leading to the Stormers claiming a tight 23-20 win during the pool stage.
“I think it’s going to be a great semifinal with 25,000 supporters in the stands which will be one spectacle of the game. We know Ulster is a great rugby outfit, they’re going to come with a bit of vengeance,” said Kitshoff.
“For us it’s just to stick to our processes. Have a similar week preparation wise, be as fresh as possible come Saturday and put up a great performance. So it’s in our hands to see how far we want to go.”
Good injury news
The Stormers will be hoping for some good news on the injury front, after Rikus Pretorius, who was a late replacement for Damian Willemse, pulled up with an injury early in the quarterfinal, with young debutant Sacha Mngomezulu then making his first URC appearance.
Mngomezulu then put in a strong first showing in the competition, but the Stormers will be hoping that Willemse will be back for the semifinal, especially if Pretorius is ruled out.
“Sacha really stepped up. He was very emotional before the game and getting his debut tonight. But all credit to him. He stepped up, came to the party and actually put up a great performance,” said Kitshoff.
“I just hope that Rikus will heal quickly and hopefully be back for the semifinal.”