Stormers face uphill battle to rescue European tour

The Stormers are yet to beat Munster in the URC, having lost to them three times over the past two seasons.

The Stormers face an uphill battle to turn their first overseas tour of the United Rugby Championship (URC) season into a successful one as they head into a rematch of last season’s final against Munster off the back of two defeats.

It was another poor weekend for the Stormers after they followed up their first tour loss against Glasgow Warriors (20-9) by going down 20-17 to Italian side Benetton in Treviso.

It means they head into the massive clash against defending champs Munster with no momentum and in disappointing form.

“We wanted to go to Munster on the front foot, not the back foot. The defeat against Benetton is extremely disappointing,” said Stormers coach John Dobson.

“We needed this win. It was one of the wins we wanted on tour, so it is hugely disappointing for us. Without playing particularly well, we probably did enough to win it.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the next game, but we have been in these positions before and we do fight back, but I am very frustrated with this.”

Munster dominance

Added to the difficulty of the coming game, the Stormers are still yet to beat Munster in the URC, having lost to them three times over the past two seasons.

The Stormers’ second ever game in the competition was against Munster back in October 2021, and they went down 34-18 in Limerick.

Last season the Stormers were edged 26-24 in the pool stage in Cape Town, and then played them in the final at Cape Town Stadium only to lose once again (19-14).

They now find themselves back in Limerick on a tough two-game losing streak and they will need to improve on the mistakes they made in going down to Benetton, with Dobson admitting he thought his side threw away the game.

“Frustrating is the exact word (to describe the match). It feels like a game, as much as Benetton fought, we really threw away,” explained Dobson.

“We were really impatient with the ball and (made) all sorts of curious decisions with the ball in hand, kicks, and crossfield kicks. Our play under contestables (kicks) was poor, too.”

Following the match against Munster, the Stormers will close out their tour with a game against Cardiff in Wales and they will be desperate not to head into that match off the back of three straight losses on the road.

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