Stormers to put Cardiff to the sword at Arms Park | The Citizen

The Stormers are expected to put Cardiff to the sword when the teams meet in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash at Arms Park in Wales on Saturday night (kick-off 8:35pm).

 It is the Stormers final URC tour match of the year, with them returning to South Africa after the game to face the Lions at Ellis Park next week before the international break.

The Stormers failed to win for the first time in 15 games last weekend when they drew 16-all with Ospreys in horrendous conditions in Swansea, but that was just a blip due to the terrible weather conditions and they should cruise to a comfortable win over Cardiff regardless of the expected rain.

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Ospreys are arguably the strongest team in Wales, with a number of Welsh internationals and British and Irish Lions players in their ranks, whereas Cardiff does not have the same quality, although they do have star eighthman Taulupe Faletau in their ranks.

However the Stormers should have way too much firepower for the hosts and although conditions aren’t expected to be optimal for the visitors style of play, they will still be targeting a bonus point win in the match.

They will also want to head back to SA with good momentum, as they are set to face a confident and in-form Lions team in Johannesburg next up.

The defending champs are currently third on the URC table, having played a game less than Leinster and Ulster who sit first and second respectively, and the Stormers will also want to keep the heat on them at the top of the competition standings.

Bolstered by Boks

The Stormers are also boosted by a number of their Springboks getting a run, with Steven Kitshoff, Joseph Dweba and Frans Malherbe starting in an all Bok front row for the first time this season.

Malherbe will in the process become the most capped Stormers player, moving past Schalk Burger’s record, as he makes his 124th appearance for the club, while Kitshoff will be making his 122nd appearance and should pass Burger after the international break.

“What Frans has achieved at the age of just 31 is incredible, if you think about some of the players who represented this team before him,” said Stormers coach John Dobson.

“He is a great example of a top team man and just his presence in the squad this week has given us a lift.”

Looking at the Cardiff match Dobson hopes to see his team bounce back from the Ospreys draw.

“We are looking forward to seeing how some of our combinations develop and the way the team responds at what is a renowned rugby venue against a home team with some momentum,” added Dobson.

Stormers: Clayton Blommetjies, Suleiman Hartzenberg, Alapati Leuia, 12 Dan du Plessis, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Godlen Masimla, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ernst van Rhyn (c), Nama Xaba, Marvin Orie, Adre Smith, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: JJ Kotze, Kwenzo Blose, Brok Harris, Ben-Jason Dixon, Willie Engelbrecht, Junior Pokomela, Paul de Wet, Sacha Mngomezulu

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