Salmaan Moerat feels Stormers win over Edinburgh can be catalyst for ‘greater things’

‘The guys pitched up and understood how we were going to beat Edinburgh,’ said Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat (with ball in hand). Photo: BackpagePix

‘The guys pitched up and understood how we were going to beat Edinburgh,’ said Stormers captain Salmaan Moerat (with ball in hand). Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 25, 2024


They could have scored more than the seven tries, but the Stormers won’t look a gift horse in the mouth after collecting a full house of five points against Edinburgh.

Arguably for the first time this season, the Stormers looked like title contenders after completely dominating their opponents from the get-go to complete a 43-21 victory at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening as they secured the bonus point in the first half already.

With the win, the former United Rugby Championship champions jumped from ninth to fifth on the log, leapfrogging their Scottish opponents and Irish clubs Ulster and Connacht, whom they must still face, among others.

The victory over Edinburgh, who were stripped of their Scotland internationals, showed again how formidable the Cape side are in front of their home crowd.

Just over 23 000 spectators came to see them score some scintillating tries, which included a hat-trick by wing Suleiman Hartzenberg and a brace by his wing partner Leolin Zas and No 8 Evan Roos.

Coach John Dobson was happy with the momentum his team built, and wants more of the same when former Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff’s Ulster come to the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (7.15pm kick-off).

It will be their last match before the Champions Cup knockout clash against La Rochelle on April 6 at the same venue.

“Similar to Loftus, where we made those attacking entries, it felt that our spark was back, and even more so against Edinburgh. (It’s) how we want to play. We had that intensity, which is what (captain) Salmaan (Moerat) asked from the team,” Dobson said after the victory over the Scottish outfit.

“What was frustrating is how many tries we left on the park two weeks ago in Pretoria, and it was probably double that (against Edinburgh).

“But it’s not something we got wrong in terms of our attacking shape. One was a TMO decision, the other a knock-on and the other a dropped pass.

“It’s a mixture. But I’d rather have this than not being able to create opportunities.”

Returning captain Moerat said they had to fix quite a few things after that Bulls performance that they were not happy with, and they did so against Edinburgh.

The maul defence and safety under high kicks were two of them, and the Stormers dealt with the kicking game and rolling mauls well.

“We showed some very good glimpses out there. Our attitude against the Bulls was also what we spoke about, and there was a great shift. The guys pitched up and understood how we were going to beat Edinburgh. It was a great spectacle,” No 4 lock Moerat said.

“Once you get that confidence, it can be a catalyst for greater things to come. The most important thing now is to be consistent and nail our detail down.

“We need to be consistent with the areas in our game that make us tick. Ulster is a quality side, and Kitsie (Kitshoff) will be coming home, so it will be special.

“We are looking forward to that and gaining consistency.”

The Stormers will need a win over Ulster to stay among the top teams in the competition, while it can also be another stepping stone on their path to a second victory over La Rochelle in the Champions Cup.

The French side are the reigning kings in that competition, and it will be a great feather in the cap and show their intent in the top-tier competition if the Cape side can knock them out of the tournament.

But for now the focus is squarely on the Irish club and getting back to the drawing board today, Moerat said.

After Ulster lost to URC bottom feeders the Sharks 22-12 in Durban at the weekend, they will be out for blood, and to topple the Stormers in front of their raucous home supporters on Saturday.

Dobson and his management will look for a new loosehead prop somewhere in South Africa after Lizo Gqoboko lasted all of five minutes into his return from an injury.

The No 1 was replaced with a rolled ankle, and Brok Harris is the only fit loosehead in the Cape.

Points scorers

Stormers 43 – Tries: Suleiman Hartzenberg (3), Leolin Zas (2), Evan Roos (2). Conversions: Manie Libbok (3), Jurie Matthee (1).

Edinburgh 21 – Tries: Jacob Henry, Viliame Mata, Paddy Harrison. Conversions: Ben Healy (3).