Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
10 Jun 2022
9:20 am

Good news for Stormers ahead of URC semifinal: They know what to expect from Ulster

Ross Roche

John Dobson's team also have the advantage of playing at 3pm.

Stormers coach John Dobson and captain Steven Kitshoff during the teams press earlier this week. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The Stormers are keenly aware of the game’s important focus points in their United Rugby Championship semifinal against Ulster, to be played at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

The hosts managed to sneak a 23-20 win at the same ground against Ulster earlier in the season, aided by a contentious reffing decision, and know they have to be much better if they want to secure a place in next weekend’s URC final.

Ulster will also be fired up for a bit of revenge as they felt hard-done by the previous result and having played in the same stadium in similar conditions they will be eager to force an upset against the slightly favoured home side.

But the Stormers know exactly where they need to improve and what they need to do to get the win.

ALSO READ: Strong Bulls side named for Leinster semi

“When we looked at it (the game) again earlier this week we realised our kicking wasn’t up to scratch and our struggles were self-inflicted. We put poor kicks on them, which allowed them to kick those contestables back, so that’s a controllable for us,” explained Stormers coach John Dobson.

“Some of our work around receiving the contestables wasn’t where it should have been and our play off that was poor as well. Ulster are also one of the best mauling teams in the competition and we gave them seven penalties in the middle of the field.

“From there they aren’t going for posts, they’re going into our corner. We defended the mauls really well in that game. But we can’t do that again. Our discipline in the middle of the park has to be spot on.”

The Stormers will also be boosted by a 3pm kick-off on the day and with a hot and sunny day predicted conditions should be perfect for them to play their game plan.

“We much prefer that (mid-afternoon start), and the weather is nice. We wanted to play at three o clock and with the style of rugby that we play, the drier the better, so we are happy with that kick off time,” admitted Dobson.