Theunissen driving DHL Stormers forward

PUBLISHED: November 7, 2023

Loose forward Marcel Theunissen says that the DHL Stormers are looking for a big response in Italy this week as they seek a return to winning ways.

The DHL Stormers were unable to overturn a first-half deficit in Glasgow last week and went down 20-9 against the Warriors in what marked their first loss of the 2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship season.

“We put a lot of work into that game and we really wanted to start our tour off with a win,” Theunissen said. “It wasn’t nice to lose.

“There are a few learnings we can take out of it, definitely our discipline, which wasn’t up to scratch. Those two yellow cards made it hard for us and there were a few unnecessary penalties.

“We have addressed it and our discipline will be much better going into the next game.

“We will also look at our set-piece, especially our line-outs. If we want to be the best in the world, we need to win our line-outs and scrums. From there, we can have a good base to attack from,” he said.

Having started their four-match Vodacom URC tour with a loss, the DHL Stormers are in Italy this week, looking for an immediate response against a Benetton Treviso side filled with Italian and Argentinian internationals.

“Benetton is going to be a tough game,” Theunissen said. “They have a very good side this season. They drew against Munster and beat the Emirates Lions. It’s going to be a good test for us.

“We want to make things right with a good win on Saturday, but we know we are up against a good side who are coached very well and have a lot of international players.”

Following the clash in Italy, the DHL Stormers will travel to Ireland, where they will face defending champions Munster in a re-match of last season’s Grand Final.

“Right now our focus is only on Benetton,” Theunissen said. “A win would give us a lot of confidence going into the next week against Munster. There is enough motivation for that game, as they are the defending champs and we faced them in the final last season.”

Theunissen has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, scoring a brace of tries in the bonus-point win against Scarlets in Stellenbosch.

The 24-year-old made 20 appearances in all competitions last season, grabbing five tries along the way, including one in the Vodacom URC semifinal win over Connacht.

“It was a very long preseason. We worked hard on our detail and structures,” he said. “I am very happy to be back playing competitive rugby and it’s nice to see that the work we put in during our preseason reflects on the field during the season.”