Cape Town — Boy, what a road it’s been for the Stormers.
The Cape side — just like the rest of the South African contingent — endured a struggling start to the United Rugby Championship, and now, in a historic event, they are getting ready to host the Bulls in the Grand Final at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm).
The Stormers are on a 10-match unbeaten run and have lost just once at home — a 37-19 defeat to the Lions last December.
They booked their spot in the final with a last-gasp 17-15 win over Ulster, after defeating Edinburgh in the quarter-finals.
As the teams prepare to go head to head in the decider, here’s a look at the Stormers locks.
The Tygerberg High School product joined the Stormers in 2020 after representing the Bulls and Lions at senior level.
After having represented Western Province at the 2006 Under-13 Craven Week, the 2009 Under-16 Grant Khomo Week and the 2010 Under-18 Craven Week tournaments, Orie moved up north to join the Blue Bulls, where he ran out for U19 and U21 sides.
The 29-year-old was also a part of the 2013 Varsity Cup-winning Tuks team and was set to captain the Junior Boks for the World Rugby U20 Championships, before injury intervened.
He made his first-class debut in 2014 for the Blue Bulls in the now-defunct Vodacom Cup, before leaving Pretoria to join the Lions in 2017. Thereafter, the second-row forward spent one season with Ospreys, before joining the Stormers in 2020.
The Bok lock, who made debut in Rassie Erasmus' first match as head coach against Wales in Washington DC in 2018, and his second-row partner Salmaan Moerat will be on a mission to ace their lineout duties given the struggles the Cape side have faced at the set-piece at times this season.
The former Junior Springbok and South Africa Schools skipper comes from a rich rugby family and was a Springbok squad member on the team's Year-End Tour last year, but is yet to make his Test debut.
The 24-year old is a Cape Town boy through and through and has been a mainstay in the Stormers pack.
Injury, however, saw him spend quite some time on the sidelines this season.
He has had no shortage of setbacks in that regard, but now, injury free and ready, the future Bok should have quite a say in the Stormers' battle against the Bulls.