Stormers looking to bounce back to winning ways

The Stormers will be hoping to hand Benetton their first defeat of the season.

Stormers coach John Dobson will expect a big response from his players when they run out in Treviso on Saturday afternoon for a big United Rugby Championship match against Benetton, with kick-off at 5pm.

The Stormers go into the game on the back of a first URC defeat of the new campaign, against the Glasgow Warriors, 20-9. This, after the Stormers got their third season in the new competition under way with wins against the Lions (away) and Scarlets (home).

Unbeaten Benneton

Dobson’s men would ordinarily be the favourites against the Italian side, but Benetton have proved to be a difficult team to get the better of and after three rounds of action this campaign are one of only three unbeaten teams; the others being Connacht and Munster.

Coach Marco Bortolami’s team have so far beaten Cardiff (23-22), drawn with Munster (13-all) and beaten the Lions last week (15-10).

With the likes of former All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa, Jacob Umaga and a few South Africans in their ranks, including former Stormers No 9 Dewald Duvenhage, Benetton are a team to be taken very seriously.

Stormers still without their Bok players

And the Stormers will have to wait a bit longer before being able to call on their World Cup winning Springboks, among them Frans Malherbe, Manie Libbok and Damian Willemse.

Another Bok, who recently joined the Cape-based team, Courtnall Skosan, though is confident the Stormers can get back on the right track in Italy.

“It’s tough playing away from home and the conditions in Europe change daily,” Skosan told the Stormers website.

“The biggest focus this week has been on us polishing our game and what we can control when we go onto the field.

“Benetton are a quality side and you have to respect that. We know where we want to go, and this weekend is the next step for us. Being at our best is the only thing on our mind.

“We will give it our all to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to walk away with the desired result.”

The Stormers will be keen to get that win ahead of next week’s big match against Munster, which is a repeat of last season’s final, which the Irish side won in a thrilling match in Cape Town.