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Report: Stormers Pitch In A State For Connacht URC Semi-Final

Report: Stormers Pitch In A State For Connacht URC Semi-Final
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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After their huge win in Belfast last weekend, Connacht have a mighty task ahead of them in the URC semi-finals, as they travel to Cape Town to take on the Stormers.

Andy Friend's Connacht surprised many by claiming a 15-10 win in Ravenhill against Ulster in last week's quarter-final, thanks in no small part to the brilliance of their back row.

It was a gruelling contest, with battle scars still showing, but there is now a feel good factor surrounding Connacht as they look to reach only a second ever Celtic League final.

This Saturday's game against the Stormers, however, will be a massive challenge. The Stormers entered the knockout stages as the number three seed, and a journey to South Africa has caught out many of Europe's biggest teams this season.

With 40,000 fans expected to be out in force to support the Stormers, it will be a tough ask for Connacht to set up an all-Irish final with the winners of Leinster v Munster - and the condition of the Cape Town pitch may now be an additional issue.

Stormers v Connacht: Home pitch in dire state


Speaking to the media ahead of his side's clash with Connacht, Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman was not too enthusiastic about the state of the Cape Town Stadium pitch, saying:

It's on its last legs. There's not much we can do about it - unfortunately, there will be a bit of rain later this week, so I am not sure if that will help.

The last three or four games have been similar. I don't think it will get worse - probably the worst we've seen was last Saturday against the Bulls and similar this weekend.

The Cape Town Stadium was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and has since become host to many major rugby events, including all three tests on the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

Lions South Africa

7 August 2021; Maro Itoje of British and Irish Lions evades the tackle of Eben Etzebeth of South Africa during the third test of the British and Irish Lions tour match between South Africa and British and Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Sportsfile

It doesn't help that the Cape Town Stadium recently hosted a Monster Jam truck rally, only adding to the concerns over the conditions of the pitch.

To their credit, Connacht seem unphased.


Head coach Peter Wilkins adressed the worrying situation surrounding the Cape Town pitch, saying that their experience of playing on the new synthetic surface at the Sportsground would stand to them:

We've spoken to a few coaches that have coached against the Stormers there over recent weeks. Obviously, we've seen the fixtures on the TV and it's something out of our control.

We get a few different surfaces floating around Europe, we're used to the artificial now here at the Sportsground.

We'll just see when we'll get there, we'll get a chance to run around on it during the captain's run and will see exactly what it is for ourselves when the time comes.

Connacht face the Stormers in Cape Town at 3pm on Saturday, with Leinster hosting Munster in the other semi-final at 5:30pm.

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Conor Murray Tom Jordan tackle

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