DHL Stormers aim for third semi-final in five years – Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers Preview

Jun 18 • General News, Super Rugby • 1365 Views • Comments Off on DHL Stormers aim for third semi-final in five years – Vodacom Super Rugby Qualifiers Preview

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The DHL Stormers will aim to reach the Vodacom Super Rugby semi-finals for the third time in five years when they host the Brumbies at DHL Newlands in the second Qualifier on Saturday afternoon.

 

However, to do that the men from Cape Town will have buck their trend in playoff matches, where they have only managed to record one victory from six deciders.

 

On the contrary, the Brumbies’ experience of knock-out rugby far overshadow that of their hosts this weekend, while they can also boast the achievement of being the last team to cross the Indian Ocean and win a match in the Finals Series.

 

The Capetonians will also be looking for their first playoff victory since Vodacom Super Rugby was expanded to 15 teams in 2011 – thus far they’ve played two and lost both, in 2011 against the Crusaders and in 2012 against the Cell C Sharks, both of them at DHL Newlands.

 

The first Qualifier is an all-New Zealand affair when the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Dunedin on Saturday morning.

 

DHL Stormers v Brumbies

Date: Saturday, June 20

SA Time: 17h05

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Assistant referees: Craig Joubert, Jason Jaftha

Television match official: Deon van Blommestein

 

Team news: 

 

  • The DHL Stormers have picked their strongest available side for this match, with the only change to the starting line-up from their match two weeks ago against the Emirates Lions at No 8, where Nizaam Carr takes over from Duane Vermeulen.

 

  • Juan de Jongh will take over the captaincy from Vermeulen with Schalk Burger named vice-captain.

 

  • There are three changes on the bench – Scarra Ntubeni and Ali Vermaak come in for Michael Willemse and Oli Kebble respectively, while Michael Rhodes is in for Carr.

 

  • The Brumbies have named an unchanged starting line-up from last weekend’s encounter with the Crusaders in Canberra for this match.

 

Stats: 

 

  • When it comes to experience and the winning formula in Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs, the Brumbies are superior to the DHL Stormers in all facets.

 

  • The Brumbies have played in a total of 16 playoffs (six finals, eight semi-finals and two qualifiers) and they have won six – both qualifiers (2013 and 2014); six semi-finals of which one, in 2013 against the Vodacom Bulls, was in South Africa; and two finals (2001 and 2004).

 

  • On the contrary, the DHL Stormers have played in five semi-finals and one final, but have won only one of these six matches (their 2010 semi-final at DHL Newlands against the Waratahs). They’ve played four semi-finals at home and lost three (1999, 2011 and 2012).

 

  • The DHL Stormers will take a lot of heart from their performances in Cape Town this year – they are unbeaten in their last five home games (W4 D1), and have won seven of their last eight when hosting Australian sides.

 

  • The Capetonians have also won three of their last four meetings with the Brumbies – and the last time the team from ACT could win at DHL Newlands was in 2010 (19-17), thanks to a late converted try by George Smith and a missed conversion in injury time by Joe Pietersen.

 

  • Duane Vermeulen, who has been ruled out by injury this week, and Juan de Jongh are the only players in the current DHL Stormers squad left from that match five years ago, while the Brumbies have four in their match-day squad this weekend – Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano, who will run out for his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap.

 

  • In all matches between them at DHL Newlands, things are even between these two sides – they’ve played there nine times with each side winning four and one match ending in a draw (15-15 in 2006).

 

  • Looking at the DHL Stormers’ home record against Australian sides since the expansion to 15 teams took place in 2011, they’ve won eight out of 10 (defeats against the Reds in 2011 and the Waratahs last year). The Vodacom Bulls (10 out of 11) and Cell C Sharks (nine out of 10) prove that Australian teams have generally struggled in the Republic in the last five seasons.

 

  • Overall, the DHL Stormers have won 21 out of their 33 home matches against Aussie opposition, with two draws and 10 defeats.

 

  • The Brumbies have lost three of their last four away games in South Africa over the last two seasons, but their last Finals Series match in South Africa ended in victory, in the 2013 semi-final against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria.

 

  • The Brumbies have conceded only 21 tries this season, fewer than any other team in 2015. The DHL Stormers leaked 35, which places them fourth on the list for fewest tries conceded – behind the Brumbies, Chiefs (27) and Hurricanes (31).

 

Quotes:

 

DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee: “Knockout matches are different to league matches. You only get one shot at it, you have to be on your game and you have to ensure you dominate physically from the outset. To ask players to be physical in the quarters is to express an understatement.

 

“The Brumbies are a tough team, a physical team, and will rely on their well-drilled consistent set-piece. We know they have got line speed and we know they attack the breakdown. We are certainly bracing ourselves for a physical battle.”

 

Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham: “It was test match intensity and that’s what’s required to beat the Stormers. They’ve got a very big forward pack so the biggest lesson for us is understanding that physicality will be a massive part of this game.”

 

The teams are:

 

DHL Stormers: Cheslin Kolbe, Seabelo Senatla, Juan de Jongh (captain), Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds, Demetri Catrakilis, Nic Groom, Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi, Schalk Burger (vice-captain), Manuel Carizza, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak, Vincent Koch, Jean Kleyn, Michael Rhodes, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Jaco Taute.

 

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Robbie Coleman, Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Ita Vaea, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Blake Enever, Rory Arnold, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore (captain), Scott Sio. Replacements (from): Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Jordan Smiler, Jarrad Butler, Michael Dowsett, Matt Toomua, James Dargaville, Les Makin, Nigel Ah Wong.

 

DHL Stormers v Brumbies (since 1998):

Played 17; DHL Stormers won 5; Brumbies won 11; one draw

DHL Stormers points scored: 326

Brumbies points scored: 398

Cell C Sharks tries scored: 32

Brumbies tries scored: 44

Average score: 23-19 to the Brumbies

 

First Qualifier:

 

Highlanders v Chiefs

Date: Saturday, June 20

SA Time: 09h35 (SA time)

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Referee: Chris Pollock

Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Mike Fraser

Television match official: Aaron Paterson

 

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