Leinster coach: Stormers won’t change their spots

Leo Cullen expects the DHL Stormers to stick to their guns to recover from a shock defeat to Ospreys against eight-time champions Leinster in Cape Town on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.

Ospreys became just the third team to beat the DHL Stormers in a Vodacom URC clash in Cape Town, when the Welsh side claimed a 27-21 victory last Saturday.

After the game, John Dobson admitted the Stormers were guilty of overplaying in their own territory, as they struggled to break down a strong Ospreys defence.

However, Leinster head coach Cullen says he still expects the Stormers to create opportunities for their electric backline to run in Saturday night’s crucial clash.

“Yeah, a lot of the Stormers’ scores come from transition play, but that comes off the back of a very strong kicking game. I expect them to kick the ball quite a lot,” said Cullen.

“We will get a better idea of what conditions will be like later in the week, but they will kick the ball a lot, I think. That’s how they look for those broken field opportunities, where they can use their speed and some of the guys who are very good at keeping the ball alive.

“We need to make sure that we deal with their kicking game nice and early, and not give them the access that we gave the Lions last weekend.”

Cullen said the Leinster have long since done their homework on the Stormers, as there was the potential of the two teams clashing in the Champions Cup playoffs.

“We’ve seen a hell of a lot of the Stormers, because they were on our side of the Champions Cup. We were planning to play either La Rochelle or the Stormers [in the quarter-finals] and that game [in the round of 16] went down to the final kick.

“It’s a great challenge and a great stadium. It’s a proper proud rugby franchise and team, so it will be a huge challenge for us.”

Leinster will also be looking to bounce back after the Lions decisively beat their youthful team in the afternoon heat at Ellis Park.

“You will see two teams that are highly motivated,” Cullen said. “It was a really good game against the Stormers at the RDS last year which was a draw.

“It’s a proper challenge for our guys, but they know that. There’s a lot of them who have faced the Stormers previously. If you look at their squad, they have a tonne of Springboks, so it’s a proper test, but this is how you want to test guys.

“We will go back to our process and make sure we prepare well this week, to give ourselves the best chance.”

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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