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Stormers URC Final Series: The front row

Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff of the Stormers during a training session ahead of the United Rugby Championship final against the Bulls. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff of the Stormers during a training session ahead of the United Rugby Championship final against the Bulls. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jun 18, 2022

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Cape Town — The battle of the packs, specifically the front rows, has been a big talking point in the build-up to the United Rugby Championship Grand Final.

For one, it's the Stormers versus the Bulls, so the set-piece is always going to be a contest to savour.

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Secondly, the wet conditions in Cape Town is a massive factor.

How are the packs going to hold up on that Cape Town Stadium pitch? We will have to wait and see. But, for now, here is a look at the Stormers front row.

Frans Malherbe:

The Stormers' anchor is one of those guys that just always delivers when it comes to his primary duty.

While nobody can say Malherbe doesn't contribute in open play, his biggest strength is his prowess at the scrum, and that is going to be needed in bucket loads today.

The World Cup-winning tighthead's quality makes it a safe bet to tip him - and the rest of the Bok-healthy front row - to have an edge over the Bulls in the final.

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The Bulls pack sure is no pushover, but Malherbe has proven time and time again that he may just be enough to help the tipping scale go the way of the Stormers when it comes to the battle up front.

JJ Kotze:

The 21-year-old answered the call when the Stormers' troubles at hooker hit, with injuries to the experienced Scarra Ntubeni, Chad Solomon and Andre-Hugo Venter.

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The lineout is an area where the Stormers have had their fair share of troubles this season, and given the instability they’ve had to deal with in terms of injuries to their hookers, it’s no surprise. But if there was ever a day where they would be hoping to have a good day at the lineout, it’s today.

The Bulls, on the other hand, have enjoyed a much more satisfying run at lineout time, and the Stormers shouldn’t need much more motivation than that to do a solid job at the set-piece in the decider.

Steven Kitshoff:

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The Stormers skipper’s consistently-good performances are as characteristic as his flame red hair, and if there is one man who can drive the team to victory in the Grand Final, it’s him.

Be it at the set-piece or in the loose, Kitshoff always makes his presence known.

So, all that can really be asked of the World Cup winner today is that he produces more of the same against their rivals.

@WynonaLouw

IOL Sport

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