The Stormers will be expecting an epic encounter against log-leaders Leinster at DHL Stadium.
The hosts will be hunting their sixth win in a row and ninth victory in 10 matches.
URC LIVE scores: The Stormers vs Leinster
Stormers vs Leinster preview
The Capetonians have had a rewarding home stretch so far this season, winning all their matches since early December, but they will be wary of the fact that a win for Leinster will guarantee them the top spot on the log, which is invaluable if they advance to the final.
The Irish giants will also be determined to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time in the competition since 2019.
Stormers coach John Dobson made three changes to his side with fullback Warrick Gelant starting and Damian Willemse shifting to inside centre in place of Rikus Pretorius, who has been ruled out due to a concussion.
Deon Fourie returns from injury to take his place on the side of the scrum, while the only other change to the starting line-up sees JJ Kotze at hooker in place of the injured Scarra Ntubeni, with Wilmar Arnoldi who is on loan from the Toyota Cheetahs, set to make his DHL Stormers debut from the replacements bench.
“This should be a great occasion for a number of reasons, with the top two teams on the standings taking each other on at DHL Stadium,” said Dobson.
“This is a crucial game for both teams with the play-offs getting closer and we are expecting an intense game. We know Leinster’s pedigree and saw how competitive they were last week, so we are looking forward to measuring ourselves against them.
“We will have to be accurate and clinical in all that we do for the full 80 minutes, which is a challenge that the team is embracing.”
Leinster shift focus
Leo Cullen, coach of Leinster said:
“The Stormers are a very different type of team to the way the Sharks play in terms of mindset.
“Even the conditions are slightly different. In Durban it’s very humid, there was that rain shower at the end of the first half into the second half that made the conditions quite challenging.
“Here it’s a little bit different. The temperature is not quite so warm and there definitely isn’t that feeling of humidity.
“Another great test for us. It’ll be a tough challenge.
“The big thing for us is trying to get enough points to finish top. Once you get top seeding then you get the home comforts. That’s the biggest thing for us.”
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Stormers: Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies, Steven Kitshoff (CAPT), JJ Kotze, Frans Malherbe, Adre Smith, Marvin Orie, Deon Fourie, Hacjivah Dayimani, Evan Roos
Replacements: Wilmar Arnoldi, Brok Harris, Neethling Fouche, Salmaan Moerat, Junior Pokomela, Ben-Jason Dixon, Paul de Wet, Juan de Jongh
Leinster: Max O’Reilly, Adam Byrne, Jamie Osborne, Rory O’Loughlin, Rob Russell, Ciarán Frawley, Cormac Foley, Ed Byrne, John McKee, Thomas Clarkson, Brian Deeny, Josh Murphy, Alex Soroka, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock (CAPT)
Replacements: Lee Barron, Michael Milne, Vakh Abdaladze, Jack Dunne, Seán O’Brien, Nick McCarthy, Harry Byrne, Martin Moloney.
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Stormers vs Leinster stats and facts
Leolin Zas hit double figures for tries scored last weekend, picking up his 10th during the Stormers’ win over Glasgow Warriors. The Bulls’ Marcell Coetzee (9) is his closest challenger in the top try scorer stakes.
While Zas tops the individual standings for tries scored, it is Leinster who head the table when it comes to team figures, having touched down on 68 occasions this term. Scott Penny and Max Deegan are the biggest contributors to that figure with 6 apiece.
Leinster also lead the way for, among other stats, points (498), carries (2,144) and metres gained (7,066).
No player has beaten more defenders in the URC this season than Stormers number 8 Evan Roos (44).
Deon Fourie tops the Vodacom URC standings for turnovers won (20), contributing to a team figure of 106 which is the joint-6th best in the league.
Stormers vs Leinster
Date: Saturday, 30 April
Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
SA Time: 18:15
Referee: Craig Evans
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