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London Irish are looking for their first win of this year’s Heineken Champions Cup as they travel to South Africa to take on the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Irish fell 32-27 at home to Montpellier Hérault Rugby in Round 1, while DHL Stormers remain in the hunt for their maiden victory in the competition after they lost at 24-14 at ASM Clermont Auvergne.
The South African side may have let an 11-point lead slip at Stade Marcel-Michelin, but they are a very different prospect at home, having won all 15 of their last home fixtures in all competitions
The Pool B match takes place at DHL Stadium in Cape Town, kicking off at 17:30 (UK & Irish time), and can be watched on SuperSport, BT Sport, beIN SPORTS and FloRugby.
Comeback o'clock ⏰ @JohnnySexton returns to the bench for @leinsterrugby, while @JakePolledri is back for @gloucesterrugby 😍 @madoshtambwe returns for @UBBrugby and @AmLukhanyo is back on @SharksRugby's bench 🔥#HeinekenChampionsCup team news ➡️ https://t.co/TAY8skUcGV pic.twitter.com/q3acalHdq6
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 15, 2022
Stormers’ Seabelo Senatla: “The atmosphere will be quite amazing. People will be in festive mood, with being on holiday. I think it will be quite amazing to have the game there and a lot of people coming to Cape Town.
London Irish’s Rob Simmons: “South Africa have entered the competition this year, so that poses a whole different logistical challenge for clubs, because traditionally an English club going to France is three to five days, but going down there (South Africa) for a week is a whole different culture.
- The first DHL Stormers player to arrive in the breakdown only secured the ball 89 per cent of the time in Round 1.
- Deon Fourie won four turnovers, as many as other player in the round.
- Irish made the most carries in Round 1 (154) and the most metres in contact (177), but also conceding the joint-fewest turnovers (six).
- They also made 21 dominant tackle contacts, the most in the opening round.
- They have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions.
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DHL Stormers claimed their first win in the Heineken Champions Cup as beat London Irish 34-19 in Cape Town on Saturday.
Willie Engelbrecht, Hacjivah Dayimani, Leolin Zas and Junior Pokomela crossed for the hosts as they bounced back from their opening round defeat at ASM Clermont Auvergne, Manie Libbok adding 14 points from the tee.
Irish rallied in the second half, crossing through Mike Willemse and Will Joseph and seeing two further scores ruled out by the TMO, though they would leave South African empty-handed.
DHL Stormers were in control for the vast majority of the first half, crossing through flanker Engelbrecht on eight minutes after a smart tip-on from prop Steven Kitshoff.
But Irish’s defence was impressive, repelling the hosts on several occasions, while full-back Ben Loader was stopped metres short in their best attacking moment of the half.
DHL Stormers looked to have notched a superb second score as lock Salmaan Moerat finished off a flowing move from deep on 24 minutes, but it was chalked off as the TMO spotted a forward pass from Kitshoff.
With Irish providing stubborn resistance, DHL Stormers opted to kick for the posts seconds before half-time, Libbok, who converted the early try, extending their lead to 10 points with a penalty.
The old one-two between the big men after a stunning @theStormers break but their second is chalked off by the TMO for a forward pass 😳
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 17, 2022
And they started the second half in style, with No.8 Dayimani strolling over moments after the restart following a mistake from Irish scrum-half Joe Powell.
A third try came from a brilliant flowing move shortly after, Dayimani involved again before wing Zas stepped inside and finished coolly.
Hooker Willemse bundled over amid a maul to put Irish on the board on 50 minutes, but DHL Stormers’ lead was up to 27-7 on the hour mark as Libbok nudged over another penalty.
Irish enjoyed their best moments over the closing stages, replacement scrum-half Ben White seeing a score ruled out by the TMO as he knocked on before grounding.
Joseph danced his way through the DHL Stormers defence on 72 minutes to keep Irish’s faint hopes of a comeback alive, but a second score from the replacement wing moments later was chalked off by the TMO in a huge blow to those ambitions.
And the Gallagher Premiership outfit’s second defeat in their opening two Heineken Champions Cup games ended in further disappointment as replacement flanker Pokomela crashed over from a driving maul, securing the bonus point for DHL Stormers in the final play of the game.
DHL Stormers and London Irish will do battle again in Round 3, with the South African side visiting the Gtech Community Stadium on January 15.