SOUTH AFRICAN director of rugby Rassie Erasmus expects the Stormers to prevail against his old side Munster in the United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town on Saturday.
Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber held court at a press conference in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon. While the focus of the briefing was on the world champions and their upcoming Test season — which will come to a head when the Boks face Ireland in Paris on 23 September in the pool stage of the World Cup — the conversation inevitably turned to the URC decider scheduled for Saturday.
Erasmus and Nienaber have a history with both teams. They coached the Stormers between 2008 and 2012, and subsequently enjoyed a stint with Munster in 2016 and 2017.
As the head of South African rugby, Erasmus would love to see a Stormers win at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. But if one team is going to force an upset, it may as well be his former side.
“Munster gave myself and Jacques an incredible amount and we enjoyed our time there,” he said. “If there was another team I wouldn’t mind winning apart from the Stormers, it would definitely be Munster.
“They are battle-hardened and playing really well, with two away wins in the playoffs [against Glasgow and Leinster] showing just what they are capable of. Of course, they also came to Cape Town in the league season and inflicted the first home defeat on the Stormers in a long time [winning 26-24].
“[Stormers flyhalf] Manie Libbok missed a few kicks in that game and also made some other mistakes that they will have learned from. Knowing how good the Stormers coaching team is, and how they are at putting their plans in place, and also considering they are at home in front of 55,000 spectators, I am expecting the Stormers to win. Both my heart and my rugby knowledge say that.”
Cape Town has been plagued by stormy weather in the lead-up to the final. It’s been suggested that the wet and windy conditions will suit the Irish side more than the Capetonians if another storm hits this weekend.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber, however, feels that the local side has what it takes to cope while staying true to their attacking mantra.
“I don’t think the Stormers will change too much from what they’ve shown in the past,” Nienaber said. “They would have taken some lessons out of that Munster loss earlier in the season.
“Even if it’s raining this weekend, they will adapt, without ignoring the soul of their team and what they’re all about.”2023-05-25T20:14:59Z dg43tfdfdgfd