Vodacom Super Rugby Preview – Round 18
- Mtawarira boosts Cell C Sharks for vital Cape Town derby
- Vodacom Bulls refresh starting side for Emirates Lions’ visit
The regular season fixtures of Vodacom Super Rugby concludes on Saturday with two important South African derbies that will have a crucial impact on the teams that progress to the playoffs.
The Jaguares have already won the SA Conference with a game to spare, however, the intriguing part is that all four South African teams can mathematically qualify for next week’s quarter-finals.
In Cape Town, the DHL Stormers, fourth in the local standings on 34 points, host the Cell C Sharks (fifth on 33 points). The action then moves to Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls (second, 36 points) entertain the third-placed Emirates Lions (35).
The Jaguares tackle the Sunwolves early on Saturday morning (SA time).
Mtawarira boosts Cell C Sharks for vital Cape Town derby
The DHL Stormers will be banking on their home form when they take on their coastal rivals, the Cell C Sharks, in a crucial Vodacom Super Rugby contest Saturday in Cape Town, which starts at 15h05.
There are four changes to the DHL Stormers’ backline for the clash with their Durban rivals. The forward pack that started in the win over the Sunwolves last week remains unchanged, while Scarra Ntubeni (hooker) features in the only change among the forward replacements.
There is an all-new halfback pairing of Jano Vermaak and Josh Stander, while Damian de Allende is back in midfield and Seabelo Senatla returns from injury to take his place out on the wing.
Meanwhile, Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, the most experienced South African Vodacom Super Rugby player ever, has shrugged off his injury and has been included in the starting team of the Cell C Sharks for their all-important visit to the Cape.
Mtawarira takes over in the front row from the promising Mzamo Majola, who moves to the bench, while Ruben van Heerden gets a start at lock because Ruan Botha is battling with a foot injury. Curwin Bosch has been ruled out with an ankle injury, which has left a gap for Aphelele Fassi to come into the starting line-up.
Going into the final round of regulation matches, the two teams are currently at the bottom end of the SA conference table – the Cape side fourth on 34 points, just one more than their Durban rivals who are bottom on 33 points. A win is important for both – success for the DHL Stormers will consolidate their place in the overall top eight, while their opponents need a convincing win to sneak into next weekend’s playoffs.
While the Cape side have struggled with their away form, they have proved to be a difficult customer when playing at DHL Newlands, where they have lost just once in eight games. Furthermore, the DHL Stormers are unbeaten in their last four home games (W3, D1), while the Cell C Sharks managed to snap a run of seven SA derby losses with their 42-5 triumph over the Emirates Lions.
What they said:
DHL Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said that his players are looking forward to what should be a classic South African derby at DHL Newlands: “We have performed well at home this season and this is another opportunity for us to use that to our advantage. The key in a match like this will be to remain composed and accurate while operating at high intensity. It should be a great game to watch.”
DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak1, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel.
Cell C S Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Head to head:
DHL Stormers won: 14
Cell C Sharks won: 16
DHL Stormers points: 598
Cell C Sharks points: 613
Average score: 20-20
Date: Saturday, 14 June 2019
SA time: 15h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Divan Uys
Television Match Official: Willie Vos
Vodacom Bulls refresh side for Emirates Lions visit
The Vodacom Bulls welcome back a number of key players for their last Vodacom Super Rugby regulation match against neighbours the Emirates Lions in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Jukskei River Derby kicks off at 17h15 at Loftus Versfeld and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
Experienced Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen returns to the starting line-up alongside backline players Rosko Specman (wing) and Warrick Gelant (fullback). Apart from the important points at stake, the match will also serve as a farewell to a number of players who are set to leave the Vodacom Bulls at the end of the Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Handre Pollard’s side will be hoping to bag a win at home as their previous two games, against the Blues and Highlanders, have both finished in draws.
On Friday, the Emirates Lions announced four changes to the team that lost 37-17 to the Hurricanes at Ellis Park last weekend, with Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies to start at inside centre in place of Harold Vorster, while Shaun Reynolds is retained at flyhalf.
Tyrone Green gets the nod at right wing in place of Courtnall Skosan, who drops down to the bench.
Among the forwards, Hacjivah Dayimani starts at No 8 where he replaces the injured Kwagga Smith, while Rhyno Herbst comes back in the team to resume his lock partnership with Marvin Orie.
What they said:
Vodacom Bulls head coach Pote Human believes the return of the trio players will freshen up the squad: “We are at a late stage in the competition and anyone coming back into the fray does so with new energy and fresh legs and that is always good. The nice thing about this weekend is that we have our fate in our own hands and do not have to worry about results elsewhere. We can go out and apply our minds to the job at hand.”
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant , 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 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 Eli Snyman, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Wandisele Simelane, 23 Courtnall Skosan.
Head to head:
Vodacom Bulls won: 12
Emirates Lions won: 6
Vodacom Bulls points: 503
Emirates Lions points: 466
Average score: 26-25
Date: Saturday, 14 June 2019
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Egon Seconds, Stefan Geldenhuys
Television Match Official: Christie du Preez
Other Round 18 fixtures (SA kick off times):
Friday, 14 June
09h35: Highlanders v Waratahs, Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
11h45: Rebels v Chiefs, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, 15 June
00h10: Jaguares v Sunwolves, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires
09h35: Hurricanes v Blues, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
11h45: Brumbies v Reds, GIO Stadium, Canberra