United Rugby Championship

Stormers heap praise on 'special' Cape Town crowd at new home: 'They were our extra man'

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Stormers fans at Cape Town Stadium (Gallo)
Stormers fans at Cape Town Stadium (Gallo)

Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff says the 31 000 screaming fans at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night felt like an "extra man" for his side after they stunned the Bulls to be crowned United Rugby Championship winners. 

The Stormers were 7-0 down inside three minutes and 7-3 down at half-time, but they dominated all aspects of the second half to emerge 18-13 winners in the end.

It is the most significant achievement in the history of Stormers rugby, and it happened in the first entire season the franchise has spent away from its historic fortress at Newlands. 

As coach John Dobson acknowledged after Saturday's blockbuster final, he once thought it "impossible" that the Stormers could cultivate the same loyal, passionate stadium culture and fan base at Cape Town Stadium that they had at Newlands. 

The events of the last three weekends where the Stormers have hosted matches throughout the playoffs, though, suggest that the future at the more modern venue is bright. 

"I never thought it would be possible [to create a new stadium culture], but we've done it, and I think people have had a fantastic experience. I never thought we'd be able to get that experience we had today," said Dobson. 

"It's so important because when we start next season, people are going to want to come back.

"I was one of those people who was dragged out of Newlands, but this could be a superior offering in the modern era."

Kitshoff, who is now a World Cup, British & Irish Lions series and URC winner, paid his respects to the home crowd too.  

"It was special. The faithful were definitely the extra man in the field today," said Kitshoff.

"It was properly loud and just so cheerful and a great atmosphere. I'm very grateful for the supporters we have as a team and a union."

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