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Stormers vs Leinster Rugby
United Rugby Championship
Round 17
Cape Town Stadium

Saturday, 30th April 2022, 17:15

TV: Live: RTE2, Premier Sports

It's a top of the table clash as first-placed Leinster take on second-placed Stormers with just two games to go. Leinster lead by nine points and need two more points to be assured of 1st place in table and home advantage throughout the knock-out stages. But it will be tough against a Stormers side who are eyeing up a late run for top place themselves.

The Stormers have been one of the more entertaining teams to watch in the league and coach John Hobson has made three changes to the team that beat Glasgow comfortably last week. Warrick Gelant comes in to start at fullback with Deon Fourie returning from injury to start at blindside flanker. JJ Kotze comes in at hooker either side of experienced Springboks Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff (the most Irish looking South African ever). Damian Willemse, Ruhan Nel and Herschel Jantjies are some of the more recognisable names in the backs.

After upsetting South African TV commentators last week by naming such an unfamiliar squad, Leo Cullen has doubled down this week with an even younger selection. Basically the rest of the traveling squad are getting a runout. Max O'Reilly, Adam Byrne and Rob Russell form an all new back three and Rory O'Loughlin moves in from the wing to partner Jamie Osborne in the centre. There's also a new half-back pairing in scrum-half Cormac Foley, who makes his first senior start, and Ciaran Frawley moving up from inside centre. Ed Byrne comes in as loosehead prop alongside John McKee and Thomas Clarkson and Josh Murphy comes in to partner Brian Deeny in the second row. Skipper Rhys Ruddock moves to No 8 with Alex Soroka coming in at blindside and Scott Penny at openside again. Michael Milne and Sean O'Brien will make their first starts of the season if called on from the bench.

The Stormers should win comfortably but we said the same last week and the young Leinster side played really well and were within a hair's breadth of winning at the end. So who knows what will happen but at least they won't have to face TMO Marius Jonker again this week after he was mysteriously withdrawn after initially being named again. South African TMOs bullying inexperienced referees into accepting blatant untruths has got to stop. When these chancers are trying to pull a fast one to help their home team, the referees should be empowered to tell them to FRO.

Team Lineups


Leinster Rugby
Teams Warrick Gelant 15 Max O'Reilly
Seabelo Senatla 14 Adam Byrne
Ruhan Nel 13 Jamie Osborne
Damian Willemse 12 Rory O'Loughlin
Leolin Zas 11 Rob Russell
Manie Libbok 10 Ciaran Frawley
Herschel Jantjies 9 Cormac Foley

Steven Kitshoff (C)
1 Ed Byrne
JJ Kotze 2 John McKee
Frans Malherbe 3 Thomas Clarkson
Adre Smith 4 Brian Deeny
Marvin Orie 5 Josh Murphy
Deon Fourie 6 Alex Soroka
Hacjivah Dayimani 7 Scott Penny
Evan Roos 8 Rhys Ruddock (C)

Replacements Wilmar Arnoldi 16 Lee Barron
Brok Harris 17 Michael Milne
Neethling Fouche 18 Vakh Abdaladze
Salmaan Moerat 19 Jack Dunne
Junior Pokomela20 Sean O'Brien
Ben-Jason Dixon 21 Nick McCarthy
Paul de Wet 22 Harry Byrne
Juan de Jongh 23 Martin Moloney

Not Considered
due to Injury

Will Connors,
Dave Kearney,
Conor O'Brien,
James Ryan,
Ryan Baird,
Jordan Larmour,
Ronan Kelleher,
Max Deegan,
James Tracy

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU),
Assistant Referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (SARU), Morne Ferreira (SARU),
TMO: Ben Crouse (SARU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2022-04-29