Sti Sithole wants to get intense with Stormers pack against Edinburgh

Sti Sithole, seen here being tackled by Bulls prop Wilco Louw, says the Stormers’ discipline was not up to standard at Loftus Versfeld. Photo: BackpagePix

Sti Sithole, seen here being tackled by Bulls prop Wilco Louw, says the Stormers’ discipline was not up to standard at Loftus Versfeld. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 22, 2024


With the Stormers looking to bounce back from their last URC game, which ended in defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, Sti Sithole is keen to make his contribution to an improved effort in tomorrrow’s United Rugby Championship clash against Edinburgh.

The Capetonians lost the set-piece and physical battle to the Bulls in a 40-22 loss in Pretoria on March 2.

They can’t afford to come second best up front against a solid Edinburgh pack at the Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (5.05pm kick-off) that includes the likes of South African-born props Boan Venter, WP Nel and Luan de Bruin, as well as star loose forwards Hamish Watson and Bill Mata.

Current Scottish internationals Duhan van der Merwe, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Pierre Schoeman and Ewan Ashman are not available for the Stormers game after their Six Nations duties, but coach Sean Everitt said this week that flyhalf Ben Healy and lock Sam Skinner will be able to play.

“I think the key takeaways for us as a team were our roles within the system. We weren’t consistent enough within our roles, and our discipline wasn’t up to our standard,” the 30-year-old Sithole told the Stormers website this week about the Bulls game.

“For me personally, my intensity on both sides of the ball wasn’t up to standard, and (I am) looking to rectify that the next opportunity I get.

“We know we let ourselves and our fans down with the performance at Loftus Versfeld, so we are eager to turn things around, as a pack and as a team, with a dominant performance that is of our standard in front of our people at home.

“The next three weeks (with games also against Ulster and the Champions Cup play-off against La Rochelle, both in Cape Town) are season-defining for us. We’ve identified and addressed the areas we need to improve on, and now we need to execute those workings (tomorrow).”

Meanwhile, Wandisile Simelane, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, is excited by the possibilities his future holds at the Stormers.

The former SA Under-20 star had a tough time at the Bulls after leaving his Lions home, and a move to Cape Town finally became reality in January.

Simelane has been given time to settle in with the team, and was part of the side that beat Northampton 45-29 in England last week.

The fleet-footed outside centre had an encouraging outing and also scored a try, and will hope to build on that performance by getting an opportunity against Edinburgh.

“It’s even better from the inside. When you look at it from the outside, you always knew the DHL Stormers were coached well and had a good environment. Being on the inside now, it’s even better,” Simelane told the team website.

“Everyone knows that the Stormers play an attractive brand of rugby. When I looked at them from the outside, it was a feeling of ‘I can excel in an environment like that’. For me to be here now, it’s just exciting, and I am happy to be here now.

“I’ve received a warm welcome from all the guys. I knew a lot of them before I got here, like Hacjivah (Dayimani, who also attended Jeppe High School in Johannesburg). We went to school together. He hasn’t changed a single bit.

“I’ve played with some of the guys and against most of the guys. I can say 50 to 60% of the team I’ve either played with or against, so it’s pretty familiar faces. The welcome I got was pretty special. You can see how special the bond is between the guys.”

Meanwhile, the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) announced this week that the Red Disa Consortium has concluded its equity deal to secure a 74% controlling shareholding in WP Professional Rugby.

“The Red Disa consortium is made up of Cape Town-based investment holding company Fynbos Ekwiteit and Ardagh Glass Packaging, a global business with a strong South African presence. The Cape-based personal investment company of Andre van der Veen, Marble Head Investments, completes the consortium,” WP Rugby stated.

Dobson added: “We are all really looking forward to this new chapter and taking our organisation forward together.

“The Red Disa Consortium clearly has the best interests of our team and their supporters at heart, and hopefully we can build on the strong foundation that we enjoy, given the considerable strength of rugby in the region and the passion that our wider community has for the game.”