Home Sport Stormers’ Sithole out to make big impact against Lions

Stormers’ Sithole out to make big impact against Lions

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Stormers prop Sti Sithole is licking his lips at the prospect of facing his former side the Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday

Sti Sithole of the Stormers during the United Rugby Championship 2023/24 match against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on 2 March 2024. Picture: Nokwanda Zondi, mBackpagePix

Leighton Koopman

An injury-stricken season hasn’t dampened the spirit of Stormers prop Sti Sithole, who is hoping to make a big impact for his side during the final stages of the United Rugby Championship.

He is licking his lips at the prospect of facing his former side the Lions at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (1.45pm kick-off) as the 2022 champions continue to push to seal fifth spot on the log.

They will come up against a Lions scrum that is roaring in the URC, and Sithole will have his work cut out for him opposite some of the guys he used to play with.

It will be a testing time for the home team.

Sithole returned against the Dragons in a tough URC clash that didn’t really go the way of his side in the first half, and head coach John Dobson admitted it was a difficult clash to make his return from injury in.

But the experience in Wales and of being on tour with the team in Ireland for the Connacht clash would’ve given the loosehead ample time to find his groove again.

“I’ve been feeling really good after my injury,” Sithole said on the Stormers website.

“I got a nice chunk of game time against Dragons. The week after, I got a full week of training with the team, so I’m feeling good and my body’s feeling good and fresh.

“I’m ready to make an impact in the last push of this vital part of the season.”

It will be the first time since his return to Cape Town that he will face his old teammates, and after a 68-point thriller in the first match of the season, things are expected to be fierce at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Sithole is known as a scrummaging prop, and although that will be his main task – to subdue the Johannesburg side in that department – he slots in perfectly when the team calls on him to carry the ball into contact.

The Stormers need just a win to secure fifth place on the log and one point for Champions Cup qualification.

Although they will play in a quarter-final, Sithole said the Stormers will not put their feet up and take things easy.

“There is still a lot of pressure on us, even though we have secured a play-off spot. We want to put the pedal down hard, especially heading into this part of the season,” the 31-year-old said.

“It’s very important to get a great result and put in a good performance. We need this cohesion, heading into the play-offs.

“I’ve enjoyed my first season back with the Stormers, even though it has been rocky because I missed a good chunk of it through injury.

“I love scrumming against Springbok props like Frans (Malherbe), and Neethling (Fouché), who is in the alignment camps, as well as some of the other guys like Sazi Sandi, who are also great scrummagers and put the pressure on you in those live sessions.”

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