It’s “Super Saturday” in South Africa – Vodacom Super Rugby Round 9 Preview
April 11, 2013
All five South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises will be in action this weekend, with two mouth-watering derbies set for Cape Town and Pretoria on what amounts to a “Super Saturday”.

First up are the Southern Kings, who will be looking to end their Australasian tour with a first win Down Under when they take on the Rebels in Melbourne.

Last week’s exciting draw against the Brumbies in Canberra will have given the Kings hope, but they would also have taken note of the Rebels’ victory over the Force in Perth.

At 17h05 on Saturday afternoon, the DHL Stormers will be determined to get their campaign back on track when they host The Sharks in Cape Town, after having lost their last two matches in a tough season for the team from the Western Cape.

Matches between these two coastal teams are always interesting, as the average score of 21-20 in favour of the DHL Stormers shows.

Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria will be abuzz from 19h10 onwards, when the Toyota Cheetahs take on the Vodacom Bulls – one of only two sides the team from Central South Africa has not managed to beat since joining the Vodacom Super Rugby fray in 2006.

But they are on a roll after five successive wins and the Toyota Cheetahs will be hell-bent on changing their fortunes against the three-time champions.

Melbourne Rebels v Southern Kings

The Southern Kings will be protecting a proud South African record in Melbourne on Saturday morning (SA time) in the “clash of the newbies” against the Rebels.

Even though the Rebels, who joined Vodacom Super Rugby in 2011, have managed victories over three New Zealand franchises in the last two seasons – they beat the Hurricanes in 2011 and the Crusaders and Blues last year – the Melbournians have lost all 10 of their matches against teams from South Africa.

The Rebels’ average score over the last two years against New Zealand teams is 24-37, but against South African opposition it is 20-40. A 20-point difference might be wishful thinking for the Kings, but they won’t be looking at record scores, just a win.

Kings captain Andries Strauss said the main thing for his team was to keep the momentum going, improve from their previous matches and limit their penalty count against a dangerous Rebels team.

“There were a few crucial areas that we still need to work on, such as being aware of the space on the field, limiting the opponent’s space and getting used to the levels of pressure on the field, but these are things we can only learn on the field, through experience,” said Strauss.

“We gave away 18 penalties against the Brumbies, of which many were at the breakdown and at crucial times in the game, and we need to look at reducing those.

“For many of the players this has been their first tour, and they have gained a lot of new experiences through the tour, both on and off the field.

“The Rebels have come back very strong against the Western Force last week. Many people have written them off after they took a hiding in the game against the Sharks, but they are not to be underestimated.”

The teams are:

Melbourne Rebels: Richard Kingi, Jason Woodward, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, Cooper Vuna, James O'Connor, Nick Phipps, Scott Higginbotham (captain), Scott Fuglistaller, Luke Jones, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Paul Alo-Emile, Ged Robinson, Nic Henderson. Replacements: Shota Horie, Laurie Weeks, Jordy Reid, Jarrod Saffy, Nic Stirzaker, Lachlan Mitchell, Angus Roberts.

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

Melbourne Rebels v Southern Kings
Date: Saturday, 13 April
SA Time: 11h40 (SA time)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Richard Goswell (Australia)
Television Match Official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

DHL Stormers v The Sharks

The Sharks will travel to DHL Newlands this weekend with a slight edge for their Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the DHL Stormers, having won their last two matches and leading the Capetonians by 10-9 in the head-to-head stakes.

However, last year’s runners up – who will return to the venue of their famous semi-final victory last year after having crossed the Indian Ocean twice in a week – better beware the wounded DHL Stormers. The Capetonians will be pressing hard to get back to winning ways after losing their last two matches and sitting on a win record of only two from their first six matches this season.

Despite The Sharks leading by 10 wins to nine, it’s interesting to note that the average score in the 19 Vodacom Super Rugby clashes between these teams is 21-20 to the DHL Stormers. But it also illustrates the closeness of derbies between these two South African sides since 1998.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s encounter, DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said: “We are under no illusions that it is a tough task. The Sharks are an incredibly good team.

“It's vital that we get our campaign back on course with a positive result from the match this weekend ... we need to get the points against the Sharks.

“We're looking forward to being back at DHL Newlands on Saturday and want to encourage all spectators to take part in our #RESPECT campaign – respect the teams out there and also your fellow spectators.”

John Plumtree, coach of The Sharks, said it’s been a difficult few weeks, with the KwaZulu-Natalians losing a number of players to injury. The last one out with a long-term injury is flanker Jacques Botes, who has been replaced in the loose trio by the experienced Ryan Kankowski, with Jean Deysel back on the bench.

“Losing Jacques Botes with the form that he was in is a big blow for us, but we’re very happy to have Jean Deysel coming back in. He was playing really good rugby before he got injured and his return is a timely boost for us,” said Plumtree.

“Against the Stormers you need that physicality and he’ll come off the bench and provide that.”

DHL Stormers and Springbok centre Juan de Jongh will play his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match.

The teams are:

DHL Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Gio Aplon, Gary van Aswegen, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Cheslin Kolbe.

The Sharks: Frans Steyn, Sean Robinson, Paul Jordaan, Meyer Bosman, JP Pietersen, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Keegan Daniel (captain), Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jannie du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Anton Bresler, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane.

DHL Stormers v The Sharks
Date: Saturday, 13 April
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs

No-one can dispute that the Toyota Cheetahs are on a roll after five successive victories – their best-ever run in the history of the franchise – but can they bury one of their big bogeys at Loftus Versfeld this weekend when they travel to Pretoria to face the Vodacom Bulls?

By now, the Toyota Cheetahs have beaten every other side in Vodacom Super Rugby, bar two (actually three, but they have not yet played the Southern Kings).

Those two teams are the Chiefs, who have drawn twice with the Toyota Cheetahs (in 2007 in Bloemfontein and 2010 in Hamilton), and the Vodacom Bulls.

Yes, the Vodacom Bulls lead the head-to-head stakes between these sides by 9-0. The closest the Toyota Cheetahs came to upsetting the Pretorians, was in 2011 in Bloem, when they lost 23-25. Last year, the Vodacom Bulls won both derbies easily (51-19 at the Free State Stadium and 40-24 at Loftus).

Contrary to the Toyota Cheetahs, the Vodacom Bulls have lost their last three matches – all on tour Down Under – and will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after last weekend’s bye.

“We feel that we left some points on the road, but now have a good stretch back home where we play ourselves back into those important play-off positions,” said Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

“The rest did wonders to all and I am pleased with the way we prepared for this one.”

Vodacom Bulls captain Pierre Spies admitted that it will be good playing in front of their home support again.

“We will certainly need all the support we can get against a Cheetahs side that is playing with a lot of confidence and momentum,” said Spies.

“History counts for nothing in this one, so past performances will have no bearing on this clash. We will have to front up from the first minute of play to the last. The Cheetahs play for 80 minutes and we need to make sure we play our style and on our terms.”

Naka Drotské, coach of the Toyota Cheetahs, said his team is looking forward to the trip to Pretoria, but that they know it will be very tough at Loftus.

“Like we were against the Stormers, we’ll still be the underdogs against the Bulls,” Drotské said.

“We have a bunch of young players who have surprised everyone in Super Rugby, especially with regards to fitness. And that is one thing you need against the Bulls. But at Loftus against the Bulls I don’t think the visitors are ever the favourites.

“We couldn’t beat the Stormers since 2007 and we haven’t beaten the Bulls at Loftus in Super Rugby. But well keep on working hard.”

The teams are:

Vodacom Bulls: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Pierre Spies (captain), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Frik Kirsten, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Morné Mellet. Replacements: Callie Visagie, Werner Kruger, Paul Willemse, Arno Botha, Rudy Paige, Louis Fouchè, Ulrich Beyers.

Toyota Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Willie le Roux, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Raymond Rhule, Burton Francis, Piet van Zyl, Phillip 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, Frans Viljoen, Tewis de Bruyn, Francois Brummer, Ryno Benjamin.

Vodacom Bulls v Toyota Cheetahs
Date: Saturday, 13 April
SA Time: 19h10
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Other fixtures (SA times):

Friday, 12 April:
09h35: Highlanders v Brumbies (Dunedin)

Saturday, 13 Apil:
06h35: Chiefs v Reds (Hamilton)
09h35: Blues v Hurricanes (Auckland)
13h45: Force v Crusaders (Perth)

Bye: Waratahs

2015 Free State Town Challenge Cup
Tuesday, May 05 2015
18:00 - UFS U/23 vs Old Greys
2015 Western Province Super League
Wednesday, May 06 2015
21:00 - FNB UCT vs FNB Victorians
21:00 - FNB Maties vs Belhar
2015 Eastern Province Grand Challenge
21:30 - FNB NMMU vs PE Crusaders
Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, May 08 2015
09:35 - Crusaders vs Reds
AMI Stadium, Addington, Christchurch
11:40 - Rebels vs Blues
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Vodacom Cup
15:00 - Griffons vs Golden Lions
HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom
19:00 - EP Kings vs Sharks XV
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE

Copyright 2011 - SARU. All Rights Reserved.