Super Saturday Part II – Vodacom Super Rugby Round 15 Preview
May 23, 2013
For only the second time this season all five South African Vodacom Super Rugby franchises will be in action on one day, and with derbies scheduled for Port Elizabeth and Durban, Saturday promises to be super yet again.

All five played on Saturday 13 April (Round 9), and on that occasion the Southern Kings (over the Rebels in Melbourne), the DHL Stormers (over The Sharks in Cape Town) and the Vodacom Bulls (over the Toyota Cheetahs in Pretoria) were victorious.

From a local point of view, Saturday’s “Six Hours of Super” kicks off at 15h00 with the Southern Kings’ home match against the Toyota Cheetahs, where the team from Port Elizabeth will be aiming for their first derby victory against the high-flyers from Bloemfontein.

At 17h05, the DHL Stormers are back at home against the 2011 champions, the Reds, where the team from Cape Town will be looking to consign an unsuccessful Australasian tour to history with a solid performance.

And at 19h10, The Sharks host the SA Conference-leading Vodacom Bulls in Durban.

The Vodacom Bulls’ replacement scrumhalf, Jano Vermaak, will earn his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap if he gets game time off the bench. He has played 11 times for the Cats, 62 times for the MTN Lions and 26 times for the team from Pretoria.

Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs

Their third victory almost a fortnight ago over the Highlanders ensured the Southern Kings have the most successful Vodacom Super Rugby debut season (excluding the first season when there were 12 debutants) since the inception of the professional competition in 1996.

The Kings have thus far won three matches and are on 24 log points – the same amount of victories the Rebels had in 2011, but already with four more log points.

In 1998, when South Africa went over to the franchise system, the Cats won two and lost nine matches for 15 log points.

And the Force, who joined the Vodacom Super Rugby fray in 2006, won one, drew two and lost 10 matches for a total of 12 points.

In 1996, by the way, the bottom-finishing Crusaders won only two matches, drew one and lost eight to finish on 12 points. They went on to win the competition seven times.

The Toyota Cheetahs will be aiming for only their seventh away win in their 21st local derby. Earlier this season they beat The Sharks in Durban and if they can win in Port Elizabeth, it will be the first time since 2006 that they have won away from Bloemfontein twice in one season against a fellow South African franchise.

“We see this as a real opportunity, bearing in mind that the Cheetahs are a side that are lying second in the South African conference at the moment and challenging very strongly for a playoff position,” said the Kings’ Director of Rugby, Alan Solomons.

“I think the important thing is that when you play against a team like the Cheetahs you have to cut your error rate. They will capitalise on the mistakes that you make, so they are certainly a side you have to be careful about and cut your errors.

Solomons added it was also important to remain “defensively sharp” against the Toyota Cheetahs, who can score tries from anywhere on the field.

“They’re a side that likes to play a tempo game and move the ball about, so I think you have to have your wits about you defensively when you play against them,” said Solomons.

The teams are:

Southern Kings: SP Marais, Siyanda Grey, Ronnie Cooke, Andries Strauss, Marcello Sampson, Demetri Catrakilis, Shaun Venter, Cornell du Preez, Luke Watson (captain), Wimpie van der Walt, David Bulbring, Steven Sykes, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, Schalk Ferreira. Replacements: Virgile Lacombe, Grant Kemp, Rynier Bernardo, Jacques Engelbrecht, Nicolas Vergallo, Shane Gates, George Whitehead.

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

Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs
Date: Saturday, 25 May
SA Time: 15h00
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwessen (South Africa)

DHL Stormers v Reds

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will become the most-experienced skipper in the history of DHL Stormers rugby when he leads out the side for the 53rd time at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, against the Reds.

Only nine players – two of them South African – have more Vodacom Super Rugby captaincy experience than De Villiers.

The two South Africans ahead of De Villiers on the list are Victor Matfield, who captained the Vodacom Bulls 75 times and is second on the overall list, and John Smit, who lead The Sharks out on 67 occasions (joint-fourth overall). Both also captained the Springboks.

De Villiers is currently level on 52 matches as DHL Stormers captain with another former Springbok captain, Corné Krige.

Because of an injury to his Springbok midfield-partner Juan de Jongh, De Villiers has been moved to outside centre for this match, with Damian De Allende coming in at inside centre.

“We’ve been hit really hard by injuries, but we’re looking forward to (new) players bringing in new energy this weekend,” said DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee.

“As a coach you make do with what you have and remain positive about the (next) fixture, but the reality is that we're currently sitting with 15 players that are unavailable. Having said that, I’m excited about the new players in our team – all of whom have a chance to lay down a marker and all of whom brought plenty of energy and enthusiasm to training this week.”

Speaking about facing the Reds, the 2011 Vodacom Super Rugby champions, Coetzee said: “The Reds are a challenging team. They beat us at DHL Newlands two years ago and I expect the same (from them) from a tactical point of view.

“They’re probably disappointed at losing (to the Cheetahs) last week and they’ll probably be chasing a four-try bonus point. We’re confident in our defence, however, and hopefully we can make our opportunities on attack count.”

The teams are:

DHL Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian De Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Don Armand, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Gerbrandt Grobler, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Marius Coetzer, Rohan Kitshoff, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.

Reds: Luke Morahan, Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Replacements: James Hanson, Ben Daley, Ed O’Donoghue, Jarrad Butler, Beau Robinson, Ben Lucas, Jono Lance.

DHL Stormers v Reds
Date: Saturday, 25 May
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

The Sharks v Vodacom Bulls

The Sharks’ Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie needs 17 points to become only the fifth player in South African rugby history to achieve 500 Vodacom Super Rugby points.

Lambie, who has amassed 139 points in his 12 matches for The Sharks this season, will follow in the footsteps of four other Springboks if he can reach the magical mark of 500 points.

His direct opponent on Saturday, the Vodacom Bulls’ Morné Steyn, is the leading South African points’ scorer in Vodacom Super Rugby on 1,364 (and second overall behind Dan Carter).

The DHL Stormers’ Peter Grant is second on the list with 819 points, followed by André Pretorius (Cats, MTN Lions – 661) and current Springbok kicking consultant Louis Koen (DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls, Cats – 555).

Looking ahead to the game, Sharks coach John Plumtree reiterated the importance of Saturday’s derby. His team won last weekend, but before that a bad run of five consecutive defeats put their playoff aspirations at serious risk.

“This is a big game for both teams,” said Plumtree. “The Bulls have been playing really well lately, their forwards have dominated and they’re enjoying momentum. They’ve also dominated territory through their kicking game, they’ve dominated upfront and we know it’s going to be a really tough game for us.

“Although our preparation this week has been quite short, we have trained well, and we’re looking forward to putting our plans into place and the boys can go out there and enjoy the massive clash that this game is.

“It’s great to be back home, to play at our stadium and hopefully we’ll get a really nice crowd on Saturday.”

Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said his team realised pulling off an away victory in Durban will not be easy, but it will significantly boost their chances of winning the SA conference.

“It is a vital game for us,” said Ludeke. “The Sharks are fresh and back at home and we know they are going to have a huge go at us, so it’s vital for us to be at our best.”

As the captain last year when the Vodacom Bulls got a big hiding in Durban, by 32-10, Pierre Spies knows Saturday’s game will be no walk in the park, despite The Sharks struggling to get good results in the last month or so.

“It’s always tough against the Sharks. They scored a vital last win on tour to get their campaign back on track, while it’s always difficult to play them in Durban,” said Spies.

Vodacom Bulls wing Bjorn Basson will earn his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap in Durban on Saturday – he has played nine for the Toyota Cheetahs and 40 for the team from Pretoria.

The teams are:

The Sharks: Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane, Piet Lindeque, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (captain), Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jannie du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Wiehahn Herbst, Jandré Marais, Jean Deysel, Lubabalo Mtembu, Tian Meyer, Sean Robinson.

Vodacom Bulls: Jürgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (captain), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandré Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Frik Kirsten, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Willie Wepener, Werner Kruger, Grant Hattingh, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouché / Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe.

The Sharks v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 25 May
SA Time: 19h10
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Other fixtures (SA times):

Friday, 24 May:
09h35: Chiefs v Crusaders (Hamilton)
11h40: Rebels v Waratahs (Melbourne)

Saturday, 25 May:
09h35: Blues v Brumbies (Auckland)
11h40: Force v Highlanders (Perth)

Bye: Hurricanes

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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