DHL Stormers host their NZ bogey – Vodacom Super Rugby Round 7 Preview
March 28, 2013
The DHL Stormers will be looking to build on their great victory from last weekend when they host the most successful foreign Vodacom Super Rugby team ever to play at DHL Newlands, the Crusaders, on Saturday evening.

No Australasian team has beaten the DHL Stormers more in South Africa than the Crusaders, who have won five from their nine matches at DHL Newlands, including their last two matches in Cape Town.

In the other match in South Africa this weekend, the Toyota Cheetahs will be aiming for their fourth successive win of the season – which will equal a franchise record – in Bloemfontein against the Melbourne Rebels earlier on Saturday.

And on the other side of the Indian Ocean, the Vodacom Bulls will be looking to finish their Australasian tour on a high when they play the Aussie Conference leaders, the Brumbies, in Canberra.

The Southern Kings will play their second match in New Zealand, against the unpredictable Hurricanes in Wellington, on Saturday morning.

The Sharks, currently on top in the South African Conference on 17 points, just three ahead of the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers, have a bye this weekend.

On Friday in Dunedin, Ewen McKenzie of the Reds will become the most experienced Vodacom Super Rugby coach to date when he takes charge of his 121st match at this level. He is currently level with Robbie Deans, formerly of the Crusaders and current Wallaby head coach, on 120 matches.

Frans Ludeke, who will be in charge of his 105th Vodacom Super Rugby match in Canberra on Saturday, is the most-experienced South African coach at this level.

Naka Drotské is second in South Africa behind Ludeke on 76, followed by John Plumtree (The Sharks, 67) and Allister Coetzee (DHL Stormers, 53). Heyneke Meyer, the current Springbok coach, was in charge at the Vodacom Bulls for 63 matches.

The most experienced Vodacom Super Rugby coaches are:

120: Robbie Deans (Crusaders 2000-2008); Ewen McKenzie (Reds, 64 from 2010-13; Waratahs, 66 from 2004-2008)
106: Ian Foster (Chiefs 2004-2011)
105: John Mitchell (Chiefs, 11 in 2001; Force, 65 from 2006-10 and MTN Lions, 29 from 2011-12)
104: Colin Cooper (Hurricanes 2003-10); Frans Ludeke (Cats, 24 in 2002 and 2006; Vodacom Bulls, 80 from 2008-13)

Hurricanes v Southern Kings

The Southern Kings have a tough second tour match in the New Zealand capital this weekend when they play the Hurricanes at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on Saturday morning.

The Kings have been bolstered with the return of two of their most experienced players in lock Steven Sykes and centre Andries Strauss, who has also taken over the captaincy from Schalk Ferreira.

This week, Strauss has cautioned that the Kings will have to watch Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith closely.

Smith, who has been bracketed with Alapati Leiua, is the Hurricanes’ general in a very dangerous backline, which also features the speedy Andre Taylor at fullback and try-scoring winger Julian Savea, who is yet to fire in 2013 after finishing second on the list of top try scorers last season, with nine (behind the Bulls’ Bjorn Basson and Taylor with 10 each).

Matt Sexton, the Kings’ head coach, said the team had settled in and preparations were going well in Wellington.

“We’ve done some previews and have been looking at the footage of the Hurricanes, so we can prepare ourselves for a great performance on Saturday,” Sexton said.

“If we give the Hurricanes the same time, space and momentum as we did last weekend against the Crusaders, it will be another long day. So we’ve been working pretty hard on making sure that doesn’t happen, as well as making sure that we hold onto the ball through phases.”

The teams are:

Hurricanes: Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua / Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith (captain) / Alapati Leiua, Tim Bateman, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara / Chris Smylie, Victor Vito, Karl Lowe, Brad Shields, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Ben May, Dane Coles, Ben Franks. Replacements: Ash Dixon, Reggie Goodes, Mark Reddish, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie / Samisoni Fisilau, James Marshall, Reynold Lee-Lo.

Southern Kings: George Whitehead, Sergeal Petersen, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss (captain), Marcello Sampson, Demetri Catrakillis, Shaun Venter; Jacques Engelbrecht, Wimpie van der Walt, Devin Oosthuizen, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Hannes Franklin, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo, Waylon Murray, Hadleigh Parkes.

Hurricanes v Southern Kings
Date: Saturday, 30 March
SA Time: 05h35
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Television match official: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Brumbies v Vodacom Bulls

It’s been four years since the Vodacom Bulls last played the Brumbies in Canberra, when the home team scored 10 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes to win 32-31.

The Vodacom Bulls, in six visits to the Australian capital, have won only once – in 2007, when they beat the Brumbies by 19-7. Twice they were edged by the Aussies (the defeat in 2009 and 21-19 in 2005), while the team from ACT massacred the Bulls in 2003 (64-26) and 1999 (73-9).

Their winning record in Australia is a dismal 28.6% – or eight victories out of 28 matches since the Vodacom Bulls started playing as a franchise in 1998. But since 2004, when they recorded their first win in Australia over the Reds in Brisbane, the Bulls have won eight from 19 – a much better return.

With the Vodacom Bulls having won only one of their three tour games to date this year, they will be hard-pressed to leave Canberra victorious against Jake White’s Brumbies, a team that only lost their first match of the season last weekend against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.

Pierre Spies, captain of the Vodacom Bulls, said: “We need more points and we need to get it in Canberra. If we want to finish this tour the way we planned, we cannot afford another match full of slipped opportunities.”

His comments were echoed by Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, who was full of praise for the Brumbies.

“They are well-coached, well-structured and have a number of players that can kill you off,” said Ludeke. “We will have to be at the very best of our game, something I feel we are getting close to.”

The teams are:

Brumbies: TBC

Vodacom Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Lionel Mapoe, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Jürgen Visser, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (captain), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morné Mellett. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Ruan Snyman, Louis Fouché, Francois Venter.

Brumbies v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 30 March
SA Time: 10h40
Venue: Canberra Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Rohan Hoffman (Australia)
Television match official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Toyota Cheetahs v Melbourne Rebels

The Toyota Cheetahs, back in South Africa after their most successful Vodacom Super Rugby tour to date, can win a fourth consecutive match for only the second time in their history when they host the Melbourne Rebels at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

On tour, the Toyota Cheetahs beat the Highlanders, Waratahs and Force. It was their third “hat-trick” of wins in Vodacom Super Rugby, repeating their three-on-the-trot from 2006 and 2010.

In 2011 they went one better when they beat the Brumbies, MTN Lions, Crusaders and Rebels on consecutive weekends, but all those wins were in Bloemfontein.

The Toyota Cheetahs have not lost to the Rebels, with their last-minute victory in Melbourne last year one of their best to date.

The three wins Down Under lifted their team spirit and although they will not underestimate the Rebels following their huge loss in Durban last week, Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said his team will be ready on Saturday.

“Our superb team spirit was probably the biggest factor in the three wins on tour,” said Drotské.

“It’s always positive to win overseas, but now we are back and we have to win our home games. In this competition, if you want to make the playoffs, you have to win at home.

“The Sharks certainly did us no favours with their 60-point win last weekend and I know the Rebels will want to bounce back. We just need to keep our guys grounded and work hard at sticking to the basics instead of trying to force “magical” things.

“We will not make the mistake of underestimating the Rebels.”

Hawies Fourie, the Toyota Cheetahs’ assistant coach, said: “The biggest difference between this year and previous seasons, is the way in which we defend. The guys are sticking to the plan and although I think our attack can still improve, it’s important to keep up the good defence if we are going to be successful.

“We’ve picked up a lot of confidence from the last three games, and that came with defending well. We know we can beat any team at home and if we can improve our attacking play, we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

The teams are:

Toyota Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Riaan Smit, Sarel Pretorius, Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Piet van Zyl, Burton Francis, Ryno Benjamin.

Melbourne Rebels (23-man squad): James O’Connor, Richard Kingi, Mitch Inman, Lachlan Mitchell, Jason Woodward, Angus Roberts, Nick Phipps, Scott Higginbotham, Jordy Reid, Gareth Delve (captain), Juke Jones, Hugh Pyle, Paul Alo-Emile, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Replacements: Shota Horie, Laurie Weeks, Cadeyrn Neville, Jarrod Saffy, Scott Fuglistaller, Nic Stirzaker, Rory Sidey, Tom English.

Toyota Cheetahs v Melbourne Rebels
Date: Saturday, 30 March
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

DHL Stormers v Crusaders

No Australasian team has beaten the DHL Stormers more in South Africa than the Crusaders, who will be hosted by the Capetonians at DHL Newlands on Saturday evening.

In their nine visits to DHL Newlands, the Crusaders have left as winners five times. The Highlanders (four wins from nine) and Blues (four from seven) have also tasted a fair bit of success against the DHL Stormers in South Africa, but it’s the Crusaders who enjoy winning in Cape Town the most.

And the Crusaders will arrive at DHL Newlands on Saturday buoyed by the fact that they had won their last two matches there. In fact, the Cantabrians are on a three-match winning streak against the DHL Stormers, dating back to 30 April 2010, when the Capetonians won 42-14 at home.

Allister Coetzee, coach of the DHL Stormers, realises it will be a very tough encounter on Saturday, but his team has taken a lot of confidence from their superb 35-22 victory last weekend over the Brumbies – amazingly their first bonus-point victory in Vodacom Super Rugby in 21 months.

“The Crusaders are a top quality side,” said Coetzee. “They have won many Super Rugby titles and against a quality side like that, you have to make sure that your basics and your set-piece are working well.

“They are like the Brumbies – if you give them the ball, you don’t see it for a period of time. You are not just going to put them under pressure and turn the ball over you have got to really work hard and look after yours.

“They are also very accurate and have a great line-out, which is difficult to contest. Their line-out accuracy is very good, and is important in terms of their success rate.

“Our set-piece will again be crucial and we are going to have to take our opportunities against them, like we did against the Brumbies. We have to reproduce what we did last weekend – that's the bottom line.”

The teams are:

DHL Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Gerhard van den Heever, Elton Jantjies, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Pat Cilliers. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Brok Harris, Don Armand, Nizaam Carr, Nic Groom, Damian de Allende, Jaco Taute.

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Tom Marshall, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Johnny McNicholl, Tyler Bleyendaal, Willi Heinz, Luke Whitelock, Matt Todd, George Whitelock (captain), Samuel Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Dominic Bird, Jordan Taufua, Andy Ellis, Adam Whitelock, Zac Guildford.

DHL Stormers v Crusaders
Date: Saturday, 30 March
SA Time: 19h10
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Linston Manuel (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Other fixtures (SA times):

Friday, 29 March:
08h35: Highlanders v Reds (Dunedin)

Saturday, 30 March:
08h35: Chiefs v Blues (Hamilton)

Sunday, 31 March:
07h05: Waratahs v Force (Sydney)

Bye: The Sharks

SA Schools 2015
Friday, August 07 2015
12:00 - South Africa U18 A vs Italy U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
14:00 - England U18 vs France U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
15:30 - ORC Griquas vs DHL Western Province
Griqua Park, Kimberley
SA Schools 2015
16:00 - South Africa U18 vs Wales U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
18:00 - Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Absa Under 19 Competition
Saturday, August 08 2015
09:30 - Eastern Province U19 vs Golden Lions U19
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
10:30 - Free State U19 vs Blue Bulls U19
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Absa Under 21 Competition
11:30 - EP Kings U21 vs Golden Lions U21
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
12:05 - Australia vs New Zealand
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Absa Under 21 Competition
12:05 - Free State U21 vs Blue Bulls U21
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

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