Stormers set for tough Munster grudge match at Thomond Park
While it would be agreeable for the Stormers to get their revenge over Munster when the two sides meet in a grudge match this weekend, Springbok legend Jean de Villiers does not see a victory for the Cape side at Thomond Park.
Reigning champions of the United Rugby Champions (URC) Munster host the runners-up in Limerick, Ireland, on Saturday (7.15pm).
This will be the first time that the two sides meet since the epic 2022-23 URC final in May, where Munster dethroned the Stormers with a 19-14 win in Cape Town to maintain their perfect record against coach John Dobson's side.
The two sides have had similar starts to the third edition of the URC, but De Villiers feels the Irish outfit are in a better position to win again on Saturday.
They both have won two of their first four matches, but Munster have a draw and a defeat while the South Africans have lost their other two games.
“It was a pretty shaky start from the Stormers in the campaign, even in the first game against the Lions in SA at Ellis Park,” said De Villiers, who turned out for both the Stormers and Munster in a playing career from 2001 to 2016.
“They had a few injuries going into that game, they played well in the first half and almost lost it towards the end and probably should have lost it in a way.
“As we have seen in this competition, it’s really hard to tour and get victories away from home. The Stormers have found that to be particularly difficult this year.
“I think the losses of Steven Kitshoff, Salmaan Moerat [to injuries] and a few others really neutralise the strength of the Stormers, which was the set phases, scrums, and from a line-out point of view.
“Marvin Orie is another one who left the union. They have found it tough, and I think the experience they are lacking with the Boks not being back yet, makes it difficult for them to get a victory.”
The Stormers have lost all their previous three meetings against Munster, with two defeats in Ireland and that loss in the final in Cape Town.
“Playing Munster at home at Thomond Park is a tough task for any team. [It's] not that Munster have been playing brilliant rugby — if you can call it that way, they have been pretty average — but they have managed to get a couple of wins.
“I think in terms of where these two teams are at, it would be really difficult to see a Stormers victory just taking the history into account and the form of these two teams.”
The Stormers have lost two matches on the road to Glasgow Warriors and Benetton.
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