Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Stormers not underestimating dangerous Ospreys in URC

The Ospreys game is basically a must win match for the Stormers if they want to fight for a home knockout.

The Stormers won’t be underestimating Welsh challengers Ospreys in their crucial United Rugby Championship (URC) match-up at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night (kick-off 7:15pm).

Both teams are chasing URC playoffs spots, with seventh placed Ospreys desperate to secure their spot in the top eight, while the fifth placed Stormers are trying to break into the top four to secure a home knockout.

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Although the Stormers are heavy favourites for the game, centre Dan du Plessis is well aware of the threat that Ospreys will bring and admits that the team will not be underestimating them in any way over the weekend.

Slow start

“They had a slow start to the season, but their recent performances have been very good,” explained Du Plessis.

“They’ve beaten Sale (Sharks) and Ulster recently. You can’t go into this game underestimating them. We are still doing our analysis and hard work.

“They are really good technically and have a good kicking game. They will also bring a lot of physicality to the game as well.”

It is basically a must win game for the Stormers if they want to fight for a home knockout, as they have two home games now, against Ospreys and Leinster, before they travel overseas for two away matches against Dragons and Connacht, and then return home to end their pool phase against the Lions.

“It is a crucial part of the season now. We are obviously aiming to secure a home playoff spot and other teams will be looking to do that as well. So if we can get five points wherever we can that is going to contribute towards our goal of getting a home playoff,” said Du Plessis.

Slight advantage

Although they were disappointed to have been knocked out of the Champions Cup in the last 16 by La Rochelle a few weeks ago, Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman admitted it does give them a slight advantage now that they don’t have to travel for any knockout games over the coming weeks.

“It does give us some breathing space. I think we have a week off (for the Champions Cup semis) before we go to Dragons, which is a Friday game,” explained Snyman.

“We would have been under pressure if we had to travel up and down. So it gives us a bit more time to prepare and rest the bodies.

“But it’s (Champions Cup) something we really want to compete in. We want to build our squad so that we can fight on both fronts. But we are learning from it and we will take the advantage that we have now at the moment.”