Blockbuster alert: Manie Libbok versus Marcus Smith!

The Stormers are counting on the Faithful to pack out Cape Stadium for the historic Champions Cup playoff against Harlequins in April.

“Make sure you are there,” was the message in a press release promoting the 1 April clash which marks the first time the Stormers will host a Champions Cup playoff match.

Teams from the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, English Premiership and French Top 14 compete in the Champions Cup for one of the ultimate prizes in rugby, and this round of 16 clash features two attacking teams vying for a place in the quarter-finals.

Having finished the pool stage in third place in Pool B, the Stormers earned the right to play in front of their faithful supporters in the round of 16 clash against the English Premiership side, who finished sixth in Pool A.

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In their maiden Champions Cup campaign, the current Vodacom United Rugby Championship title-holders won three of their four pool matches to ensure Cape Town hosted this play-off match.

Victories at home and away against London Irish, and a comfortable win against Clermont in their final pool game were enough to secure the Stormers safe passage to the playoffs, having started their campaign with a tough defeat against the French side at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

Harlequins won both of their pool matches at home against the Sharks and Racing Metro 92 and crucially secured bonus points in the away fixtures to finish in sixth place in Pool A and book their trip to Cape Town.

Harlequins claimed a second English Premiership title in 2021, adding to their victory in 2012 and have won the European Challenge Cup in 2001, 2004 and 2011.

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There are some big individual battles to look forward to as well, with both teams boasting a host of world-class players in their ranks.

Harlequins have Springbok tighthead prop Wilco Louw and inside centre Andre Esterhuizen in their squad, along with England internationals such as flyhalf Marcus Smith and loosehead prop Joe Marler.

The duel between Smith and Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok should be worth the price of admission alone, while there will also be a fierce battle up front as Louw and Marler test themselves against Stormers centurions Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

Both teams showed just why they are regarded as among the most entertaining teams to watch in world rugby on their way to the knock-out phase of the tournament.

In their four pool matches Harlequins scored 113 points, including 16 tries. They made 25 clean breaks and 19 offloads among their 316 carries and beat 59 defenders in the process.

The Stormers racked up some impressive statistics of their own, making 1335 metres, 25 clean breaks and 58 offloads along with 486 tackles and 423 passes.

This all adds up to what should be an epic clash between two attack-minded teams, with the winner going on to contest a quarter-final the following week.

The Stormers could well be back at Cape Town Stadium for the quarter-final should they secure the win against Harlequins and Montpellier beat Exeter Chiefs in their round of 16 clash. Should Exeter win at Sandy Park, then they will host a quarter-final against the winner of the round of 16 clash in Cape Town.

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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