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United Rugby Championship Final - Rugby Union: Preview

The Grand Final of the United Rugby Championship is an all-South African affair this year as the Stormers take on the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium.

Overcoming Ulster and Leinster respectively in the playoff semi-finals, it's now all or nothing as these domestic rivals go head-to-head in South Africa's legislative capital.

What: Stormers v Bulls

Where: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

When: 18:30, Saturday 18th June 2022

How to watch: Premier Sports 1

Odds: Stormers 4/6, Bulls 6/5

Leinster's dominance to come to an end

Having won the URC in its various guises over the last four years, Irish Province Leinster saw their hopes of a remarkable fifth consecutive title fall apart in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.

A 27-26 win for the Bulls in Dublin last week saw the South African side reach their first URC final in what is an outstanding achievement from head coach Jake White and his squad.

There are few coaches in world rugby with more experience and success than White and that will stand the Bulls in good stead ahead of their trip from Pretoria to Cape Town on Saturday.

It's set to be a 31,000 sell-out crowd at the Cape Town Stadium, with a huge occasion in store and the pressure on for both teams.

Having guided the Springboks to World Cup glory back in 2007 in France, White knows exactly what it takes to win high-pressure games and his experience will be invaluable to the Bulls players this weekend.

In the pack, White will look to front-rowers Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar and Mornay Smith to lead against a strong set of Stormers forwards.

Veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis is likely to play a vital role from the bench, in what could be the last hurrah for the 38-year-old before hanging up his boots after an impressive innings.

Stormers come through their own trials

The Stormers were made to work hard for their place in the final too, following another nail-biting 17-15 win over Ulster.

It was a physical clash that will have the Stormers battle-hardened for the bigger test to come on Saturday.

Under head coach John Dobson, who also leads Western Province in the Currie Cup, the Stormers have come on leaps and bounds and will be ready to put it all on the line when they take to the field this weekend.

The combination of Herschel Jantjies and Manie Libbok in the half-backs for the Stormers is an exciting one that has got them to this stage and is expected to flourish for seasons to come.

At 26 and 24 years old respectively, Jantjies and Libbok are heading towards their prime years in the game, which could spell trouble for the other teams looking to challenge for the URC title in the future.

The Stormers are currently the 4/6 favourites in the results market for Saturday, with the Bulls at 6/5.

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Boks rugby back on the up

After years of unrest and trying to find a new settled home after leaving Super Rugby, South African sides are starting to return to their best.

A Stormers v Bulls final represents a big step forward for the club game there and one that has not been overlooked by Springboks forwards coach Deon Davids.

With South Africa building towards next year's World Cup in France, which the Boks are 11/2 to win, Davids will be keeping a close eye on proceedings in Cape Town this weekend.

"We're very proud that we've got two teams in the final, especially with the way they have adapted," Davids said. "When you play in a competition like this for the first time, there is pressure, so I take my hat off to the teams and how they've adapted their coaching and playing styles.

"We'll want to see two teams that leave everything on the field, so it doesn't matter which way it goes, we'll be proud of both teams."

A close encounter in store

With just two points separating the two sides in the handicap market, a tight encounter is expected between these physical outfits on Saturday.

A strong start will be key and trying to keep the scoreboard ticking over will be on the agenda for both coaches.

This game might well be won or lost on the kicking tee, and there will be plenty of pressure on kickers Libbok and Chris Smith, along with Morne Steyn, to hit their marks.

It's set to be a real battle this weekend and a platform for South Africa to show the world their club game is well and truly back in business.

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