Stormers determined to stun unbeaten Leinster in URC clash
Van Heerden says the Stormers have come to Ireland to pick up a win against Leinster.
Stormers lock Ruben van Heerden in action against Ulster during their United Rugby Championship match earlier this year. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile/Gallo Images
The Stormers are eager to lay down a marker when they take on table topping Leinster in their massive United Rugby Championship (URC) clash at the RDS Arena on Friday night.
The second-placed Stormers know they have their work cut out for them, but are keen to emulate the Bulls, who picked up a surprise win over the Irish giants in the semifinals of the competition last year.
With Leinster being unbeaten in the URC this season and needing just one win from their final three games to secure top spot, the odds of them hosting the final, should they get there, are relatively high.
The Stormers have also struggled a bit on the road in Europe this season, losing three games and drawing one, and they will want to prove that they have what it takes to beat the best in the URC away from home.
“The possibility of them (Leinster) finishing first and then winning all their playoff matches and hosting the final is very strong,” admitted Stormers lock Ruben van Heerden.
“But things are so unpredictable. If you look at last year with the Bulls, I don’t know what the bookies were saying, but I don’t think they were backing the Bulls to come and beat Leinster at home.
“What can happen down the line is so unpredictable, so we just want to focus on ourselves. We have three games left in the URC and we want to win all of them.”
Van Heerden claimed that the Stormers had come to Ireland to pick up the win and that if they can get a positive result, it could have a major mental impact on the hosts should they return for the final at the end of the season.
“We haven’t come to Leinster to lose or pick up one or two points, we want to win this game. From a mental side, if we can put down a marker and beat Leinster at the RDS, it could stand us in good stead if the final is to be played here,” explained Van Heerden.
“If we can put down that marker and we were to play here again I think it is a good thing for Leinster to have in the back of their minds that this is a team that is capable of beating us at home.”
Van Heerden only joined the Stormers on a short term contract in January due to a lock crisis that had seen a number of injuries including a major one to Salmaan Moerat who was ruled out for the rest of the season.
He has since settled down in Cape Town well and admitted that he would like to stay at the Stormers, with contract talks currently ongoing between the player and union.
“My heart wants to stay here and I think my wife enjoys Cape Town, so she would love to stay. But there’s nothing we can disclose at the moment,” said Van Heerden.
“I would definitely love to stay here and I could see myself staying at the Stormers for quite a long time.”