Bogeys, favourites and defending champions – Vodacom Super Rugby Round 7 Preview
March 27, 2014
An Australian bogey side and an Aussie favourite, as well as the defending champions from New Zealand are awaiting the three South African Vodacom Super Rugby sides in action on Saturday.

With two local sides enjoying breaks this weekend, round seven kicks off from a South African point of view with the DHL Stormers’ final tour match, in Brisbane against the Reds, the Aussie side against which the Capetonians boast the best winning percentage.

Thereafter the Vodacom Bulls will face the defending champions, the Chiefs from New Zealand, in a rare 15h00 match in Pretoria. The last time a match kicked off this early at Loftus Versfeld, was last year’s semi-final against the Brumbies, and before that in 2010.

In the final match of the weekend, the Cell C Sharks will be looking to bounce back when they are back at Growthpoint Kings Park against the Waratahs, which is their bogey team from Australia.

Two South African sides, the Lions and the Toyota Cheetahs, have a bye this weekend, along with the Force.

Reds v DHL Stormers

The DHL Stormers will be trying to avert a winless Australasian tour for the first time since 2009 when they take on the Reds on their final Vodacom Super Rugby match Down Under on Saturday morning.

In 2009, the Capetonians had to cross the Tasman Sea three times on a tough tour which ended in narrow defeats against the Crusaders (11-7), Waratahs (12-6) and Brumbies (17-10) before the Hurricanes blew then away in the final match (34-11).

The DHL Stormers have always toured well and apart from 2009, they only lost four from four Down Under on two other occasions – in 2005 and 1998.

In fact, with a winning percentage of 37.1% in Australasian tour matches, the DHL Stormers boast the best touring record of all the South African sides – the Cell C Sharks are next best on 32.9%, followed by the Vodacom Bulls (21.7%), Lions (16.1%) and Toyota Cheetahs (15.4%).

Also counting in the DHL Stormers’ favour, is that they are playing their “favourite” Australian opponents this weekend. The Capetonians have beaten the Reds 10 times in total, of which four away, which is better than their nine wins against the Waratahs (three away) and four against the Brumbies (one away).

Looking ahead to the weekend, DHL Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee said: “We’d dearly love to finish our tour with a victory in Brisbane.

“We know it won't be easy, but the guys remain positive and determined to make it count this weekend against a Reds team that will also be desperate to get back to winning ways after two losses in South Africa.”

The teams are:

Reds: Lachie Turner, Rod Davies, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Beau Robinson, Ed Quirk, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, James Hanson, James Slipper. Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O’Donoghue, Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby, Anthony Fainga’a, Ben Lucas.

DHL Stormers: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Sailosi Tagicakibau, Peter Grant, Louis Schreuder, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Michael Rhodes, Jurie van Vuuren, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Oliver Kebble, Brok Harris, Tazz Fuzani, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nic Groom, Demitri Catrakilis, Jaco Taute.

Reds v DHL Stormers
Date: Saturday, 29 March
SA Time: 10h40
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

Vodacom Bulls v Chiefs

The Vodacom Bulls have won four of their last five Vodacom Super Rugby encounters against the Chiefs, which includes their record win in the 2009 final, the team from Waikato won the last match between these sides, in 2012.

Looking at the Vodacom Bulls’ home record against teams from New Zealand, it’s clear that they are more comfortable against the Chiefs than three of their Kiwi counterparts.

The Vodacom Bulls have won six from eight at home against the Chiefs (75%), which is exactly the same as their winning ratio against the Blues and higher than against the Crusaders (63.6%) Hurricanes (50%) and Highlanders (44.4% from four wins, four defeats and one draw).

Overall against Kiwi sides, the men from Pretoria have won 61.4%, which is worse than against teams from Australia (69%) or their fellow South Africans (64.9%).

But they have been very good at Loftus in recent years, losing only three of their last 20 home matches.

“We managed to pick up some good momentum over the last couple of weeks and with no new injuries, we can look at maintaining that,” said Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke earlier this week.

But Victor Matfield, the Vodacom Bulls’ third captain this season following injuries to Pierre Spies and Flip van der Merwe, warned that the Chiefs will provide a stern test at Loftus Versfeld.

“They are not the champions for nothing,” said Matfield. “They are well-balanced with a lot of strike power at the back, but also have a solid and strong first phase in their play. We will have to be very accurate and use our changes if we want to be victorious.”

The teams are:

Vodacom Bulls: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Francois Hougaard, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques du Plessis, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (captain), Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Morné Mellett, Marcel van der Merwe, Grant Hattingh, Jono Ross, Piet van Zyl, Handré Pollard, Ulrich Beyers.

Chiefs: TBC

Vodacom Bulls v Chiefs
Date: Saturday, 29 March
SA Time: 15h00
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Cell C Sharks v Waratahs

The Cell C Sharks host their Australian bogey side, the Waratahs, at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon as they aim to move back to the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby standings.

Since 1998, the KwaZulu-Natalians have lost 11 matches against the New South Welshmen and won only four. That is a worst record than against any other Australian team.

The Cell C Sharks have lost nine and won eight each against the Reds and Brumbies, won seven and lost once against the Force and won both their previous encounters against the Rebels.

Only against the Crusaders, out of all the Australasian teams, do the Cell C Sharks have a worst record. The team from Canterbury have beaten the Durbanites 14 times and lost three.

In Durban though, the odds are even against the Waratahs – both teams have won three of their seven encounters in the Shark Tank, with one draw.

Judging by the way Saturday’s two opponents have been playing, it should be a high-scoring affair this weekend. The Waratahs (32.5) and Blues (30.8) are the only sides to average more points per game than the Cell C Sharks (29.8) thus far this year.

But a massive points tally will be the last thing on the minds of the Cell C Sharks as they look to bounce back to winning ways.

“It’s a new week, a new opportunity and we have a bye next week, so there is a lot to play for and no reason why we don’t give everything this weekend,” said Jake White, the Cell C Sharks’ Director of Rugby.

“The Waratahs are a good team, they have a lot of Wallabies in their squad and they have been on a good roll so far in the competition. Like us, they’ve only lost just one game and they have a really well-balanced team.

“Of the three games they’ve won, they’ve scored bonus points in all three victories, so they can obviously score tries. That means it’s going to be a tough game for us. If you look at their team on paper, they’re a strong, well-balanced side.”

The teams are:

Cell C Sharks: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Frans Steyn, JP Pietersen, Fred Zeilinga, Charl McLeod, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Ettienne Oosthuizen, Keegan Daniel, Stefan Ungerer, Heimar Williams, SP Marais.

Waratahs: Jonno Lance, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Peter Betham, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis (captain), Kane Douglas, Jacques Potgieter, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Replacements: TBC.

Cell C Sharks v Waratahs
Date: Saturday, 29 March
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Other fixtures (South African kick-off times):

Friday, 28 March:
08h35: Crusaders v Hurricanes – Christchurch
10h40: Rebels v Brumbies – Melbourne

Saturday, 22 March:
08h35: Blues v Highlanders – Auckland
Byes: Lions, Toyota Cheetahs, Force

Cell C Community Cup
Thursday, April 02 2015
10:00 - Hamiltons vs Wesbank
Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg
12:00 - Durbanville-Bellville vs College Rovers
Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg
14:00 - Despatch vs Wanderers
Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg
16:00 - Rustenburg Impala vs Pretoria Police
Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg
Vodacom Super Rugby
Friday, April 03 2015
08:35 - Hurricanes vs DHL Stormers
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
10:40 - Rebels vs Reds
AAMI Park, Melbourne
HSBC Sevens World Series Japan
Saturday, April 04 2015
03:00 - Fiji vs Wales
Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, Tokyo
03:22 - England vs Hong Kong
Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, Tokyo
03:44 - New Zealand vs Scotland
Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, Tokyo
04:06 - Australia vs Portugal
Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, Tokyo

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