· Kolisi, Etzebeth boost DHL Stormers’ derby prospects
· Vodacom Bulls prop Nyakane set for milestone in Cape Town
· Emirates Lions tweak starting fifteen for Crusaders challenge
· Bosch at flyhalf for Cell C Sharks’ clash in Sydney
The feature match in the South African Conference this weekend is Saturday’s much-anticipated local Vodacom Super Rugby derby between the DHL Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls in Cape Town, where the action kicks off at 15h05.
The Emirates Lions finish their three-week Australasian tour with a tough assignment against the Crusaders on Friday morning (09h35 SA time), and they will take the field in Christchurch with a changed team that defeated the Chiefs in Hamilton last week.
Meanwhile, the Cell C Sharks will be hoping for better fortunes when they start their overseas leg against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday morning (09h35).
Springbok loose forward and reigning SA Rugby Player of the Year, Pieter Steph-Du Toit, is the leading South African defender so far in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition with 97 tackles, meaning he has currently contributed the most to the #TacklingCancer campaign in aid of CHOC (the Childhood Cancer Foundation).
Vodacom and SuperSport are jointly donating R100 to CHOC for every tackle made by a local player in the competition. South African players have raised R411 800 at the halfway stage of the competition and the aim is to collect R1 million throughout the season.
Kolisi, Etzebeth boost DHL Stormers’ derby prospects
The DHL Stormers welcome back a host of experienced Springboks in a big shake-up for their important derby against the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
Coach Robbie Fleck made seven changes to his starting line-up for the South vs North challenge – four in the forward pack and three in the backline – which kicks off at 15h05.
Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi is back in the starting XV to lead the DHL Stormers from the side of the scrum, along with fellow Springboks Frans Malherbe and Damian de Allende, who sat out last week.
Malherbe is joined in the front row by hooker Scarra Ntubeni alongside Steven Kitshoff. Lock JD Schickerling returns from injury and starts in the second row, while Eben Etzebeth is set to make his return from injury from the bench.
In the backline, Jean-Luc du Plessis is back at flyhalf alongside inside centre De Allende while JJ Engelbrecht is set to run at outside centre in place of the injured Ruhan Nel.
Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane will play in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match and influential No 8 Duane Vermeulen makes a return to the starting team for the visitors from Pretoria.
Nyakane has played 42 times for the Toyota Cheetahs before moving to Pretoria and he will become only the sixth South African prop to notch up a century of appearances – the others are Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Werner Kruger, Ollie le Roux and Coenie Oosthuizen.
The popular front ranker is joined in the starting team by another centurion, Vermeulen (116 Vodacom Super Rugby appearances), who was rested for the Reds encounter two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Vodacom Bulls midfielder Burger Odendaal will be running out in his 50th game for the Pretoria franchise.
Pote Human’s team currently sit on top of the South African Conference standings and they handed their great Southern rivals a heavy defeat in their first round meeting in Pretoria. However, the Cape side remain a formidable force at home despite their recent indifferent form.
The DHL Stormers have won their last seven fixtures at home against the visitors from Pretoria, who in turn will draw courage from their two previous away wins against the Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks respectively.
What they said:
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said the value of his returning players cannot be underestimated: “We will need all of our experience on Saturday in what will be a typically fierce derby at DHL Newlands. It is great to welcome back some senior players for this game, but it will require a big effort from every single one of us to deliver the performance we are looking for on Saturday.”
Vodacom Bulls coach Pote Human wants his side to retain consistency after their win over the Reds was followed by a bye weekend: “The last time we had a bye, the result was not a good one, so we are pretty mindful of that. A clash with the DHL Stormers down in Cape Town is always a massive one for us.”
DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Joshua Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to head:
DHL Stormers won: 18
Vodacom Bulls: 13
DHL Stormers points: 704
Vodacom Bulls points: 740
Average score: 22-23
Date: Saturday, 27 April
SA time: 15h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Egon Seconds
Television Match Official: Marius Jonker
Emirates Lions tweak starting fifteen for Crusaders challenge
There are four changes to the Emirates Lions side to face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday from the team that toppled the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend. The match starts at 09h35 SA time.
Robbie Coetzee, Nic Groom, Shaun Reynolds and Ruan Combrinck all got the nod to start the Highvelders’ last fixture on their Australasian tour.
Coetzee gets a start in place of Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx, who is back in South Africa as part of the Springbok rest protocols, while Jan-Henning Campher provides bench cover.
Reynolds fills the flyhalf berth as replacement for the injured Gianni Lombard while Elton Jantjies stays at inside centre after an impressive performance against the Chiefs. Combrinck will run out at fullback in place of the regular No 15, Andries Coetzee, and Groom rotates at scrumhalf with Ross Cronje.
In the Crusaders pack, All Black Codie Taylor is now the starting hooker, while lock Quinten Strange and flank Billy Harmon replace Scott Barrett and Matt Todd, who are rested. Mitch Drummond has been selected at scrumhalf and there is a reshuffle out wide with All Black George Bridge coming in on left wing, Braydon Ennor (wing) moving to centre and Sevu Reece right wing.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Michael Dunshea, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ereatara Enari, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Ngane Punivai.
Emirates Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Sti Sithole. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan Mcbeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Tyrone Green.
Head to head:
Crusaders won: 11
Emirates Lions won: 3
Crusaders points: 387
Emirates Lions points: 257
Average score: 28-18
Date: Friday, 26 April
SA time: 09h35
Venue: Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, James Munro
Television Match Official: Aaron Paterson
Bosch at flyhalf for Cell C Sharks’ clash in Sydney
Rotation played a key role in the six changes made by Cell C Sharks coach Robert du Preez for the clash with the Waratahs at the newly unveiled Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on Saturday morning (11h45 SA time). One of these include a shift to flyhalf for young Springbok Curwin Bosch.
In the two changes upfront, Thomas du Toit (prop) comes in for Coenie Oosthuizen, while Jean-Luc du Preez (flank) replaces Jacques Vermeulen.
The back division sees a start for Cameron Wright, who rotates places with regular scrumhalf and skipper Louis Schreuder, now playing off the bench.
Wright forms a new half-back partnership with Bosch, who starts at flyhalf as a result of Robert du Preez (junior) moving to the reserves. Makazole Mapimpi comes in for Lwazi Mvovo on the wing and Lukhanyo Am replaces Kobus van Wyk in the midfield.
South Africa’s most-capped Vodacom Super Rugby player, Tendai Mtawarira, will captain the Durbanites in this match.
Following a good victory over the Rebels last weekend, the Waratahs have named a relatively unchanged side with Curtis Rona to start on the wing.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez explained the changes to his side: “The plan was to rotate and make changes and we need to make sure that everyone is engaged on this tour. There are a few players in our squad who have played a lot of games and we have been resting some in the last few weeks. We have a very strong playing 23 with a really solid bench and we’re looking forward to a strong showing against the Waratahs.”
Waratahs: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Lachlan Swinton 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Alex Newsome.
Cell C Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain). Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Marius Louw.
Head to head:
Waratahs won: 12
Cell C Sharks won: 8
Waratahs points: 574
Cell C Sharks points: 493
Average score: 26-22
Date: Saturday, 27 April
SA time: 11h45
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy, Amy Perrett
Television Match Official: George Ayoub
Other Round 11 fixtures (SA times):
Friday, 26 April
12h00: Sunwolves vs Highlanders, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Saturday, 27 April
09h35: Hurricanes vs Chiefs, Westpac Stadium,Wellington
23h40: Jaguares vs Brumbies, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires
Byes: Blues, Rebels, Reds