Stormers boosted by returning players, but still no sign of Malherbe

A 26-man Stormers squad arrived in Galway on Wednesday for their United Rugby Championship encounter with Connacht.

The first-ever match between the two teams will kick-off at 13:00 local time (15:00 SAST) on Saturday at the Sportsground in what are expected to be wet and windy conditions.

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The Stormers have been boosted for this trip by the return of props Ali Vermaak and Neethling Fouche and loose forwards Evan Roos and Junior Pokomela from injury.

However, the Cape side continue to wait for the highly-anticipated return of Bok prop Frans Malherbe, who has been sidelined with a neck injury for several months.

Currently at the top of the South African Shield and in eighth place on the combined United Rugby Championship log, a win for the Stormers against seventh-placed Connacht will see them climb further up the standings.

Following wins against all three of the other South African teams in recent weeks, the Stormers will be looking to add another valuable away win, although Head coach John Dobson knows that they will have to be at their best to do so.

“Connacht are notoriously difficult to beat at the Sportsground and we will have to adjust quickly to the different conditions, coming from a Cape summer and going into winter in Galway.

“The players have embraced the challenge and we are all looking forward to the experience,” he said.

Stormers squad

 Angelo Davids, Hacjivah Dayimani, Paul de Wet, Ben-Jason Dixon, Dan du Plessis, Neethling Fouche, Deon Fourie, Warrick Gelant, Brok Harris, Herschel Jantjies, Steven Kitshoff (captain), Manie Libbok, David Meihuizen, Ruhan Nel, Scarra Ntubeni, Marvin Orie, Sergeal Petersen, Junior Pokomela, Evan Roos, Sazi Sandi, Seabelo Senatla, Adre Smith, Ernst van Rhyn, Ali Vermaak, Damian Willemse.

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