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The Stormers will come in as heavy favourites when they take on an undermanned Brumbies at Newlands in Cape Town. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 11:05pm (AEDT).
The Canberra-based side begin what is a pivotal stretch of their season on a two-week road trip, taking on the Stormers and Jaguares in Buenos Aires next week.
They currently sit third in the Australian conference, but are eight points off the pace being set by the Rebels, and simply can’t afford to lose both of these games overseas.
It’s going to be a easier said than done to go with the Stormers here though, given they head into the match without back-row combination Lachie McCaffrey and David Pocock.
Both would be hopeful of selection in the Rugby World Cup squad for the Wallabies at the end of the year, to show just how much of a blow it is for the visitors.
Given their forwards have struggled at times this year though, with an average gain of just 8.5 metres, they will need someone to step up to the plate, with Scott Sio and Rory Arnold appearing the most likely.
They will need to lead the charge, while Allan Alaalatoa also need a huge game if they are to give players like Pete Samu and Tom Banks a chance to carry out their jobs.
The Stormers, on the other hand, come into the game sitting fourth in a tight South African conference, and while it’s not a must-win game, it’s almost as good as one for the Cape Town-based outfit.
They are going to have plenty of tough games between now and the end of the season, and although plenty are at home, they can’t afford to be dropping points at home to sides like the Brumbies.
Loosehead prop and skipper Steven Kitshoff will be looking to lead the charge for the home side, but it’s the backrow of Ernst van Rhyn, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kobus van Dyk who look like they have a huge mismatch to work with, up against Tom Cusack, Jahrome Brown and Pete Samu, who must carry the visitors.
If du Toit can play a strong game and the Stormers backs – led by No.15 Damian Willemse – play anywhere near their potential, then it’s tough to see the Reds winning this.
The Stormers should win this pretty comfortably as they try to make a surge for the finals during the second half of the season.
Stormers by 8.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 11:05pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 11:05pm (AEDT)
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo Sports
Betting: Stormers $1.36, Brumbies $3.15
Overall record: Played 20, Brumbies 12, Stormers 7, drawn 1
Last meeting: March 20, 2016 – Stormers 31 defeat Brumbies 11 at Newlands
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
1. Steven Kitshoff (c), 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Salmaan Moerat, 5. Cobus Wiese, 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8. Kobus van Dyk, 9. Herschel Jantjies, 10. Josh Stander, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 12. Dan Kriel, 13. Ruhan Nel, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 15. Damian Willemse
Bench: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Neethling Fouche, 19. Johan du Toit, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Justin Phillips, 22. JJ Engelbrecht, 23. Seabelo Senatla
1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Tom Cusack, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Toni Pulu, 12. Tom Wright, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Tom Banks
Bench: 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. James Slipper, 18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Murray Douglas, 21. Matt Lucas, 22. Wharenui Hawera, 23. Andy Muirhead