Vodacom Super Rugby Preview – Round 3
Two big South African derbies are on the Vodacom Super Rugby menu on Saturday, when two #SuperPowered matches take place in Johannesburg and Durban.
In Jozi, the Emirates Lions and the Vodacom Bulls go into battle in the first encounter starting at 15h05, when the two neighbours will both be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeats.
In the following match, the Cell C Sharks host the DHL Stormers in Durban from 17h15, while the remaining South African Conference team, the Jaguares, host the Blues in Buenos Aires at 23h40 SA time.
Marx leads Emirates Lions in massive Jukskei derby
Injury has robbed the Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls of their captains – Warren Whiteley is out for up to eight weeks while Lood de Jager will spend two weeks on the sideline. Apart from a change in leadership, both of the rivals on opposite sides of the Jukskei River will be determined to return to winning ways following their second-round defeats in Cape Town and Buenos Aires respectively.
With regular skipper Whiteley out injured, Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx will lead the Pride of Jozi on Saturday. Apart from his renowned ball-poaching abilities, the 24-year-old star hooker also shares the team’s try-scoring record of 27 tries with outside backs Courtnall Skosan and Lionel Mapoe.
Overall, the Emirates Lions have named three changes in their starting line-up, as well as a positional shift. Rhyno Herbst comes in for Marvin Orie, who has a groin niggle, a rotational switch sees Springbok flyer Aphiwe Dyantyi swap places with Skosan, while Ruan Combrinck moves from left wing over to the right. Hacjivah Dayimani gets the nod as replacement for Whiteley.
Meanwhile, Emirates Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies is set to become only the fifth player in tournament history to score more than 1,000 points, should he manage to add four points to his current tally of 996 career points. The others who have surpassed this mark are Dan Carter, Morne Steyn, Beauden Barrett and Stirling Mortlock.
News from Pretoria is that former Junior Springbok lock Eli Snyman and former Blitzbok star Dylan Sage are set to make first starts for the Vodacom Bulls. Snyman comes in for De Jager and Sage replaces Burger Odendaal in a new midfield combination with Jesse Kriel.
What they said:
Malcolm Marx, Emirates Lions skipper, said his side has put their last-minute loss to the DHL Stormers behind them and they are aiming for an improved display in front of the Joburg faithful: “There’s always a lot of pride at stake in these games. We want to return to winning ways as soon as possible but the Vodacom Bulls will be equally motivated to show their loss to the Jaguares was just a hiccup, so we are prepared for a massive challenge from a very quality side.”
Vodacom Bulls coach Pote Human reckons his men need to play a perfect match against their Gauteng foes: “We got punished last weekend (in Buenos Aires) by not retaining our ball on attack and against the Emirates Lions, who are so ruthless on counter-attack, we cannot afford to do so again. They are at home for the first time this year and will come out all guns blazing and it’s going to be a typical physical derby.”
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Marnus Schoeman, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Courtnall Skosan.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to head:
Emirates Lions won: 6
Vodacom Bulls won: 11
Emirates Lions points: 454
Vodacom Bulls points: 473
Average score: 25-26
Date: Saturday 2 March
SA time: 15h05
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Griffon Colby
Television Match Official: Marius Jonker
Etzebeth starts for DHL Stormers in Durban showdown
It will be a battle between two Springbok laden packs of forwards in Durban, where the Cell C Sharks and the visiting DHL Stormers are geared for another titanic contest.
The Durbanites were boosted by the availability of Sbu Nkosi, who has shrugged off his injury concerns. That allowed them to name an unchanged starting fifteen for the third time in a row, and the same match-23 for a second successive game.
Meanwhile, Eben Etzebeth (lock), Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Dan du Plessis (centre) will all make their first start of the season for the DHL Stormers in this coastal derby.
Etzebeth’s inclusion in the second row is the only change to the forward pack, with fit-again prop Wilco Louw among the replacements. Jantjies, who scored the winning try in last Saturday’s dramatic win over the Emirates Lions in Cape Town, replaces the injured Jano Vermaak. Du Plessis comes in at outside centre for Ruhan Nel.
Robert du Preez’s side have won four of their last five games against their Cape rivals, but their one defeat in that run came in their most recent meeting, in Round 18 of last season. A home win will give them three wins in a row for the first time since the beginning of 2017.
A huge scrum contest is expected on Saturday, especially with the home side having won all 21 of their scrums this season, the most of any side and one of six teams to still have a 100% scrum success rate after two rounds of action.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am reckons the previous two weeks’ results have given them some nice momentum but he cautioned that this weekend will be another tough derby challenge: “We couldn’t ask for much better that the two big wins, it’s a confidence booster for us going into this week’s match against the Stormers. Like us, the Stormers have a big pack and a good backline, we know we need to pitch up as far as physicality goes.”
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team are under no illusions about the challenge that awaits them in Durban: “We know that we will have to be sharp in every area if we are to get the result we want in Durban. Our focus is on being as accurate as possible so that we are able to impose ourselves and our plans on the opposition.”
Cell C 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 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.
DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak. Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Dillyn Leyds.
Head to head:
Cell C Sharks won: 16
DHL Stormers won: 13
Cell C Sharks points: 602
DHL Stormers points: 582
Average score: 21-20
Date: Saturday 2 March
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Divan Uys
Television Match Official: Willie Vos
Other Round 3 matches this weekend:
Friday, 1 March
08h35: Hurricanes v Brumbies – Central Energy Arena, Palmerston North
10h45: Rebels v Highlanders – AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, 2 March
08h35: Chiefs v Sunwolves – FMG Stadium, Hamilton
10h45: Reds v Crusaders – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
23h40: Jaguares v Blues – Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires
Photo: Carl Fourie
Issued by SA Rugby Communications