Special milestone beckons for Strauss – Vodacom Super Rugby Preview Round 6

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  • Mtawarira, Du Preez back for Cell C Sharks’ Melbourne visit
  • DHL Stormers want to build against Reds
  • Janse Van Vuren to debut for Emirates Lions


Former Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss is in line to equal the record for the most Vodacom Super Rugby appearances by any South African when the Vodacom Bulls take on the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday morning, when Blitzbok Tim Agaba (No 8) and Junior Springbok Embrose Papier (No 9) will make their first starts in the competition. Kick-off is at 08h35.

A few hours later the Cell C Sharks will also attempt to get their tour back on track when they meet the much improved Rebels at 10h45 in Melbourne.

The DHL Stormers, who bagged a superb win against the Blues last weekend, face the Reds at 17h15 at DHL Newlands on Saturday and in the final match of the weekend, the Emirates Lions will be eager to end their winless streak in Argentina when they tackle the Jaguares at 21h40 in Buenos Aires.

Vodacom Bulls coach John Mitchell made several changes to his starting line-up that lost to the Chiefs for visit to Christchurch. Apart from Agaba and Papier, he also picked lock Jason Jenkins as replacement for the injured RG Snyman, while Jesse Kriel will earn his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap against the defending champions.

The 32-year-old Strauss, who was again selected on the bench, is in line to equal Victor Matfield’s SA record of 148 matches at this level. Strauss, who made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Pretorians way back in 2006 and is on 50 caps for them, also played 97 times for the Toyota Cheetahs.

Included on the bench for the home team is All Black prop Wyatt Crockett, who is the most-capped Vodacom Super Rugby player of all time, with 191 appearances at this level.

The Cell C Sharks’ starting selection shows several tweaks in an attempt to combat the Rebels. Wings Sbu Nkosi and Lwazi Mvovo trade places with Kobus van Dyk and Makazole Mapimpi while Marius Louw replaces the injured Andre Esterhuizen at inside centre. Up front, fit-again Jean-Luc du Preez returns as blindside flank and Tendai Mtawarira is back in the front row after he was a late withdrawal last weekend.

The DHL Stormers made four changes for encounter with the Reds in Cape Town, where they will be chasing their third home win of the season. Craig Barry has been selected at fullback in place of Springbok Dillyn Leyds, who has a calf injury. Cobus Wiese will start at blindside flank, meaning a shift back to lock for Pieter-Steph du Toit, while in the front row JC Janse van Rensburg starts at loosehead in a rotational switch with Steven Kitshoff.

Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin made eight changes to his side that edged the Sunwolves by just two points last week in a bid to secure a first away win against the Jaguares.

The Argentineans have beaten the Highvelders in each of their previous two visits to Buenos Aires. Part of the reshuffling sees hooker Malcolm Marx, the SA Rugby Player of the Year, rotated to the bench while winger Sylvian Mahuza comes back into the run-on team. Kwagga Smith plays at No 8 and Marco van Vuren gets his debut in the No 9 jersey, with Ross Cronje out injured.


What they said:

DHL Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said his team have their sights on making another step-up in their performance levels this weekend: “It was great to get back to winning ways at home last week, but we are certainly not taking anything for granted. We want to go out there and improve in a number of areas, to maintain the positive trajectory we are on.”


Vodacom Bulls coach John Mitchell had a strong message for his team: “To beat the Crusaders, you need to outwork them. That will not be easy, as they have a tremendous work ethic as a team. We are not on this journey to become a better team because it is easy, so we must be prepared to play for all 80 minutes and play every big moment to the best of our ability.”


Cell C Sharks Robert du Preez said his players have a lot of character and are determined to bounce back strongly: “Vodacom Super Rugby is a tough competition and you have to take the good with the bad and move on from disappointment, which we have. It’s an absolute priority to start well against the Rebels and I have no doubt that if we do start well and we get on a roll, we will be difficult to stop.”


Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin has picked a strong starting team to face the Jaguares: “We are making one or two changes, nothing drastic. It is more or less how we played two, three weeks ago with some of the guys. We’re giving Robbie (Coetzee) a run because Malcolm (Marx) needs a rest and will come off the bench. Kwagga will move to No 8. We trained a lot like that and we played Currie Cup like that, so he will be used to it.”




Head to head:

Played: 23

Crusaders won: 15

Vodacom Bulls won: 8

Drawn matches: 0

Crusaders points: 791

Vodacom Bulls: 542

Average score: 34-24



Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor 1 Tim Perry. Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Braydon Ennor.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze.


Match information:

Date: Friday, 23 March

SA time: 08h35

Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Arg)

Assistant referees: Nick Briant (Aus), Kelly Richard (NZ)

Television match official: Aaron Paterson (NZ)

TV: SuperSport 1




Head to head:

Played: 5

Rebels won: 0

Cell C Sharks won: 4

Drawn matches:  1

Rebels points: 85

Cell C Sharks:  154

Average score: 17-31



Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner. Replacements: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ross Haylett-Petty, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Tom English.

Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Garth April.


Match information:

Date: Friday, 23 March

SA time: 10h45

Venue: AAMI Stadium, Melbourne

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Jap)

Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Aus), Murphy Damon (Aus)

Television match official: Ian Smith (Aus)

TV: SuperSport 1




Head to head:

Played: 18

DHL Stormers won: 11

Reds won: 7

Drawn matches: 0

DHL Stormers points: 445

Reds points: 411

Average score: 25-23



Reds: TBA

DHL Stormers: 15 Craig Barry, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 George Whitehead.


Match information:

Date: Saturday, 24 March

SA time: 17h15

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA)

Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (SA), Rasta Rasivhenge (SA)

Television match official: Christie du Preez (SA)

TV: SuperSport 1





Head to head:

Played: 5

Jaguares won:  2

Emirates Lions: 3

Drawn matches: 0

Jaguares points: 142

Emirates Lions: 169

Average score: 28-34



Jaguares: TBA 

Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Shaun Reynolds.


Match information:

Date: Saturday, 24 March

SA time: 21h40

Venue: Velez Sarsfield Buenos Aires

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (NZ)

Assistant referees: Paul Williams (NZ), Pablo Deluca (Arg)

Television match official: Santiago Borsani (Arg)

TV: SuperSport 1


Other Round 6 matches:

Saturday, 17 March:

06h15: Sunwolves v Chiefs, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo

08h35: Hurricanes v Highlanders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington


Byes: Blues, Brumbies

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