Blockbuster knock-out awaits at DHL Stadium

PUBLISHED: March 10, 2023

History will be made at DHL Stadium on April 1 as the DHL Stormers host their first-ever Heineken Champions Cup play-off match. Make sure you book your spot, so that you can say you were there when your team took on Harlequins in a blockbuster epic.

The Round of 16 encounter will see two teams renowned for their attacking flair go at it for 80 minutes with a place in the quarterfinals on the line.

The Heineken Champions Cup sees the top teams from the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, English Premiership and French Top 14 compete for one of the ultimate prizes in rugby. Following the pool stage we are down to the top 16 teams in this prestigious tournament.

Having finished the pool stages in third place in Pool B, the DHL Stormers earned the right to play in front of their faithful supporters in the Round of 16 clash against the English Premiership side, who finished sixth in Pool A.

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The current Vodacom United Rugby Championship title-holders won three of their four pool matches to secure home advantage in this play-off match in their first season of Heineken Champions Cup.

Victories at home and away against London Irish and a comfortable win against ASM Clermont Auvergne in their final pool game were enough to secure the DHL Stormers safe passage to the Round of 16, having started their campaign with a tough defeat against the French side at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

Harlequins won both of their pool matches at home against the Cell C Sharks and Racing Metro 92 and crucially secured bonus points in the away fixtures to finish in sixth place in Pool A and book their trip to Cape Town.

Harlequins claimed a second English Premiership title in 2021, adding to their victory in 2012 and have won the European Challenge Cup in 2001, 2004 and 2011.

There are some big individual battles to look forward to as well, with both teams boasting a host of world-class players among their ranks.

Harlequins have Springbok tighthead prop Wilco Louw and inside centre Andre Esterhuizen in their squad, along with England internationals such as flyhalf Marcus Smith and loosehead prop Joe Marler.

The duel between Smith and DHL Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok should be worth the price of admission alone, while there will also be a fierce battle up front as Louw and Marler test themselves against DHL Stormers centurions Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

Both teams showed just why they are regarded as among the most entertaining teams to watch in world rugby on their way to the knock-out phase of the tournament.

In their four pool matches Harlequins scored 113 points, including 16 tries. They made 25 clean breaks and 19 offloads among their 316 carries and beat 59 defenders in the process.

The DHL Stormers racked up some impressive statitics of their own, making 1335 metres, 25 clean breaks and 58 offloads along with 486 tackles and 423 passes.

This all adds up to what should be an epic duel between two attack-minded teams, with the winner going on to contest a quarterfinal the following week.

The DHL Stormers could well be back at DHL Stadium for the quarterfinal should they secure the win against Harlequins and Montpellier beat Exeter Chiefs in their Round of 16 clash. Should Exeter win at Sandy Park, then they will host a quarterfinal against the winner of the Round of 16 clash in Cape Town.

The DHL Stormers will be counting on the Faithful to pack out DHL Stadium for this epic clash where history will be made. Make sure you are there.