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Match Preview: Stormers v Ulster

The second of the United Rugby Championship semi-finals kicks off this afternoon as the DHL Stormers host Ulster at the Cape Town Stadium, kick off is at 15:00 if you're watching in South Africa. Both sides will be vying to join the Bulls in the final next week to claim the first ever URC Trophy. Todays fixture on paper is a much more even battle than that of the game between Leinster and the Bulls, and really either side could take this one with a moment of magic.

Ulster go into the fixture buoyed by their commanding win over fellow Irishmen Munster in the quarter-finals 36-17, giving departing Munster coach, Johan van Graan no reason to celebrate on his departure. The Ulster men will similarly be hoping to spoil another South Africans party as they make the trip down to Cape Town. Ulster's attack was the point of difference in their game against Munster and their ability to quickly transition from absorbing pressure on defense, to a potent attack is going to be a challenge for the Stormers.

The Ulster side boasts former Stormers and current Bok 8th man, Duane Vermeulen and you can be sure he will have been chatting to his side during the week about what will be required of them if they are to taste victory in Cape Town this weekend. I also thought scrumhalf John Cooney was sublime last weekend and his ability with ball in hand as well as his solid distribution from the base will constantly put the Stormers under pressure around the fringes and out wide.

The Stormers are also going into this fixture with a large amount of confidence and form. They have had a stellar season at home in 2022, having not lost a single fixture to date. They will be hoping that trend continues into this crucial play-off game. Initially struggling to get going against Edinburgh in the quarters. the Stormers found their feet in the second half with players like Evan Roos and Warrick Galant putting their hands up when it was most needed. Momentum is certainly on their side, so maintaining focus and accuracy with ball in hand will be priority number 1 here.

The Stormers were boosted by the news that Springbok player Damian Willemse will be available to face Ulster, helping them overcome what was starting to look like an injury crisis in the midfield. The Stormers team is littered with attacking threats throughout their backline and they're all nicely tied together by in form fullback Warrick Gelant. The forward battle is where this game will be won or lost for the Stormers and many eyes will be on the battle between young 8th man Evan Roos and Duane Thor Vermeulen as the teams battle for ascendancy up front.

If you have any doubt about how tight this game is likely to be, Ulster finished 3rd overall, only 1 place behind the Stormers. Both sided garnered 12 wins in the regular season and a mere 2 points separated them on the log. This is going to be a titanic battle and the fact that the opportunity exists for an all South African final should the Stormers win, this is a must watch.



  1. Steven Kitshoff (c)

  2. JJ Kotze

  3. Frans Malherbe

  4. Salman Moerat

  5. Marvin Orie

  6. Deon Fourie

  7. Hacjivah Dayimani

  8. Evan Roos

  9. Herschel Jantjies

  10. Manie Libbok

  11. Leolin Zas

  12. Damian Willemsse

  13. Ruhan Nel

  14. Seabelo Senatla

  15. Warrick Gelant

  16. Andre-Hugo Venter

  17. Brok Harris

  18. Neethling Fouche

  19. Adre Smith

  20. Ernst van Rhyn

  21. Nama Xaba

  22. Godlen Masimla

  23. Sacha Mngomezulu


  1. Andrew Warwick

  2. Rob Herring

  3. Tom O'Toole

  4. Alan O'Connor

  5. Ian Henderson (c)

  6. Marcus Rea

  7. Nick Timoney

  8. Duane Vermeulen

  9. John Cooney

  10. Billy Burns

  11. Ethan Mcilroy

  12. Stuart McColskey

  13. James Hume

  14. Rob Baloucoune

  15. Stweart Moore

  16. John Andrew

  17. Eric O'Sullivan

  18. Gareth Milasinovich

  19. Kieran Treadwell

  20. Matty Rea

  21. Nathan Doak

  22. Ian Madigan

  23. Ben Moxham

Date: Saturday, June 11

Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 UK & Ireland time; 13.00 GMT)

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)

Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Adam Jones (Wales)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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