By Lucky Maree
PICK OF THE SPORT: The weather’s good, the pitch is as good as can be expected, and the Cape Town Stadium — from the front row to the last seat on the top tier — is sold out.
The match of the year so far, the final of the United Rugby Championship (URC) will be played between the Stormers and Munster and takes place on Saturday at 6.30 pm.
While home team the Stormers are the favourites on paper, on the field it’s not nearly as cut and dried.
It’s one of those matches where the hunter can soon become the hunted. Both of these teams have had their fair share of good fortune, but both sides have grabbed their opportunities with clenched fists.
Somehow, the Stormers have gone into almost all their URC matches as underdogs. Probably because fellow South African teams, the Sharks, Lions and Bulls, have not covered themselves in glory. But the Stormers’ road to the final has shown that they are willing and capable of doing a great job when it really matters.
Coach John Dobson, not nearly as smiling and friendly as we know him, has been relentless in demanding and getting the best from his individual players and the team as a unit.
Munster, too, have had to fight the odds, particularly in the finals stages. And fight they did. They have shown the spirit of the Irish as sportsmen and a nation are famous for. Graham Rowntree has coached his team to their peak at exactly the right time.
Defence coach Denis Leamy told PlanetRugby that away matches have hardened the team.
“It’s a massive challenge to go to places like Glasgow, Leinster, coming to South Africa with everything that entails,” he said.
“But we have gone about our business in a fashion that we feel has been very positive, very workmanlike.”
If you were planning to get married on Saturday, postpone it to next weekend. You’ll be distracted and none of your guests will show up anyway.
The action will be on DStv channel 201 at 6.30 pm (and not at the church).
➤ It is the final day of the Premier League season with the relegation battle the focus of attention.
All 20 teams will be in action across 10 fixtures at 5.30 pm on Sunday.
One of Everton, Leeds United or Leicester City will make up the final relegation spot — but who will it be?
Tottenham and Aston Villa will battle it out for the final European football spot, the Uefa Conference League — which spells danger for Leeds who host Spurs in their final fixture.
Leicester City travel away to Bournemouth and Everton face West Ham as the Premier League regulars fight for survival.
The final day drama will unfold on DStv channel 203 at 5.30 pm on Sunday evening.
➤ Formula 1 returns after the Imola Grand Prix in Italy was cancelled last weekend due to flooding in the Italian region.
This weekend the drivers and the stars turn out at the historic Monaco circuit.
The qualifying session has been and will continue to be the most important of the weekend as it is well known that overtaking on the tight Monaco circuit is almost impossible. The shootout takes place at 4 pm on Saturday. The race will follow on Sunday at 3 pm.
The Monaco Grand Prix will be live across the weekend on DStv channel 215.
Pictured above: Stormers celebrating
Image source: Stormers