And one of the main highlights for the home fans will be seeing Stormers loose trio Evan Roos, Hacjivah Dayimani and Deon Fourie back together again.
The awesome threesome were outstanding in the Capetonians’ march to the URC title last season, but have seldom been on the pitch together in recent months.
Roos began 2023 a bit late after sustaining a rib injury on Springbok duty against England at Twickenham last November, which saw him sidelined until mid-January.
His comeback was in the Champions Cup defeat to Clermont in France, and then shortly after that, he suffered a knee injury against Ulster in Belfast, where fellow Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen executed a ‘croc roll’ clean-out at a ruck, while flank Nick Timoney lifted Roos’ right leg at the same time.
That saw the 23-year-old loose forward sit out for another few months, and it took longer than initially thought for him to return in mid-April, where he played off the bench in the 26-24 loss to Munster, before going on to start in the 38-22 win over Benetton in Stellenbosch.
Dayimani has also been out for a few weeks this year with a knee injury, and upon his comeback, he has had to fill in at No 8 for Roos instead of operating in his usual blindside flank role.
And now Fourie has been missing over the last couple of weeks with a fractured eye socket, but is back in training and will be ready for the Bulls showdown.
So, the boys are back together again, and Roos can’t wait to belt out some tunes on their Pretoria rivals with ball-in-hand on Saturday.
“I must say it’s great being reunited with Brannas and Hacjivah… It’s been a while since we’ve played together, and we had a pretty good season together last year,” Roos said on the Stormers website this week.
“It makes it even more special for us three to be playing together again in the URC quarter-finals. I’m really sure we’re going to enjoy it.”
Roos admitted that he was concerned about when he would be fit again. He is also a Springbok contender for the Rugby World Cup, so he will look to make a big impression when he comes up against powerful Bulls No 8 Elrigh Louw this weekend.
“Obviously when I first got injured, I was kind of stressing about the rest of the season – how it was going to pan out, how long I would be out. But things worked out quite well, and I got back just in time for the business-end of the competition,” he said.
“It’s been awesome being back and able to play again. I originally thought I was going to struggle, but it’s been good actually. The rehab went well and we worked really hard… I’m feeling better each game.
“I’m just happy I’m running again normally, as I did before, and the knee is giving me no problems at all.
“I’m happy to be a part of this week’s match, because knockout rugby is the best kind of rugby, and it is lekker to be in the mix.
“It’s a North-South derby, and you cannot expect anything less than a physical and really good game, with them bringing their A-game as always.
“The Bulls are tough opponents, and respect is due where it’s due. They’re a quality outfit, and it’s going to be a spectacle. It’s kind of why we play this game, for these types of moments, and the Stormers and I can’t wait for this weekend.”