July 14, 2024

Stormers show guts and character in grinding out ugly win against Ulster says skipper Salmaan Moerat

Evan Roos scored the Stormers only try of the game against Ulster Pic: Stormers.com

Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat believes his side showed great character in grinding out a 13-7 United Rugby Championship (URC) victory over Ulster at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Cape side struggled to find their rhythm in the first half  with the visitors from Ireland piling on the pressure.


“Ulster had a great game and put us under a lot of pressure in that first half. I think for us, as a team, we showed great character to get that win against a quality side. It’s fantastic and I’m really chuffed,” said the Springbok lock forward.

“They tested us completely differently to any other side. They kept the ball really well in the first half and made us tackle non-stop, and it did drain a bit of energy and we couldn’t get into our transitions. We showed some great guts towards the end. I think it was a game of two halves.

“For us to contain that and get the win at the end is proper.”

Coming into the match on the back of a bonus-point win over Edinburgh, the Stormers were expected to put on an attacking show, but spent most of the first half in defensive mode, making 73 tackles and seeing just 33% of possession.

“To be honest I was a bit stumped,” Dobson admitted afterwards.

“They had a similar experience in the second half. The way they kept the ball… I could see why, because we are a transition team, but when we turned the ball over, we were so tired from defending.

“Physically, we were amazing. We kept smashing them in double tackles. But when we got the ball, we just hacked it away or kicked it out.

“It was a lesson for us. We tweaked our defence at half time, but it was a lesson for us.

“What gave us hope was that we were great physically on defence. It was tough.”

“The second half was exactly the same experience for them. We would enter their 22, cough up the ball – which was frustrating – but they couldn’t start their phase play from there, they had to kick it out, which creates another transition,” Dobson explained.

“So we fed their phase play in the first half and they fed our transition play in the second half. It was a really weird game of rugby. I don’t think there is a solution for either.

“Ulster were outstanding. But the truth is that we butchered three or four tries against the Bulls, at least five or six last week and today it was a similar, if not higher, number.”

The Stormers face defending European champions La Rochelle in a Champions Cup round of 16 match in the Mother City on Saturday.

The two sides faced off at Cape Town Stadium in the pool stages in December, when the Stormers snatched a dramatic victory thanks to Libbok’s touchline conversion in the final play of the match.

“Tonight will be very helpful for next week. It will be a different size of animal coming,” Dobson said.

“At least we were playing Stormers rugby in the second half. It’s just frustrating to leave so many tries out there. It will be great preparation, but those first 20 minutes were tough.

“Selection will be a problem, fitting all these guys in. It’s a chicken and egg situation, do you choose to stop La Rochelle, by picking your most physical guys, or do you think you can break them open , which might require something else?

“It’s going to be a Test match next week. They are one of the best club teams in the world, better than most Test teams. They would be in the top 10 of World Rugby’s rankings without any stress.”



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