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Stormers embracing log pressure as home run looms

SPOTLIGHT: The Stormers will look to lay the ghost of Loftus Versfeld to rest as the United Rugby Championship returns this weekend.

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The Stormers return to action following a two-week break with a mammoth clash against Edinburgh at the Cape Town Stadium in Round 12 of the URC.

The Capetonians’ last URC outing did not go as planned, suffering a 22-40 defeat to arch-rivals the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

The loss was a major setback for the inaugural URC champs, who find themselves in an unfamiliar position sitting just outside the play-off zone with 30 points in ninth place.

With just seven rounds to go, this weekend’s match against fourth-placed Edinburgh is of utmost importance in their quest to secure a home play-off.

A win will move the Stormers ahead of the Scottish side and will give them much-needed momentum ahead of the encounter against Irish side Ulster, who are also battling for the URC top-four spot.

Speaking to reporters, Stormers head coach John Dobson believes the next few weeks at the Cape Town Stadium will be key for their campaign.

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“We talked among the leadership group this [Monday] morning. We need to build some momentum,” Dobson admitted.

“We are not where we want to be on the log, but in both seasons so far these home-ground games are so important.

“The result at Loftus [defeat to the Bulls] put us under a little bit of pressure in terms of the log, but we have done it twice before so we can do it now.

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“I know the wins and points will come so I’m not too worried about the position now.

“I do not doubt that we will get this home run and rest will look after itself.

“We just need to beat Edinburgh followed by Ulster and then the table will look a lot more different in the next five weeks.”

Stormers embracing log pressure as home run looms

The coach revealed the defeat to the Bulls has given them insight into their areas of concern.

However, he is confident that can easily fix it ahead of the Edinburgh match.

“There was some stuff missing from a coaching point of view during the Bulls match.

“Firstly we couldn’t get our line-out defence right,” Dobson said.

“Secondly, the Bulls were in front of that amazing crowd. They are a good team with momentum at the moment and they were not planning to lose another game against the Stormers, they scrambled and their desperation was something we did not match.

“We also struggled in three of four areas like the contestable, silly mistakes on attack,  lack of maul variations and decision-making.

“However the team showed some heart and we can fix those errors.”

He added: “I feel like we have been building momentum and more confidence.

“We are not going to win every game at Loftus or in the South African Shield, so the positive is that monkey is off our back.”

The Stormers take on Edinburgh on Saturday at the Cape Town Stadium.

 

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