Milestones aplenty this weekend – Vodacom Super Rugby Round 14 Preview
May 15, 2014
Three Australian sides and the most successful team of all time stand in the way of the four South African franchises in action in Vodacom Super Rugby, as a number of players celebrate personal milestones this weekend.

First up, in Christchurch, the Cell C Sharks will have their work cut out for them against the in-form Crusaders on Saturday morning in what will be a special occasion for the Durbanites’ two Springbok props, Tendai Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis.

Later on Saturday, the DHL Stormers and the Toyota Cheetahs have home games against the Force and Brumbies respectively, and in Cape Town veteran flyhalf Peter Grant will lead his team out.

On Sunday morning, the Lions will aim for their first ever win over the Waratahs when they take on the team from New South Wales in Sydney in their third tour game.

Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, who has been anchoring the Cell C Sharks’ scrum since for seven years, will be the first this weekend to reach 100 when the KwaZulu-Natalians take on the Crusaders in Christchurch. He made his debut in Durban on 9 February 2007, when he replaced John Smit late in the match against the Waratahs.

What makes Mtawarira’s 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap special, is that he will “share” it with fellow Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis, who will play in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Cell C Sharks.

Du Plessis though also played 26 times for the Toyota Cheetahs earlier in his career. This weekend he will become the second-most experienced Vodacom Super Rugby player from South Africa as he passes former team-mates John Smit and AJ Venter, who both played 125 times at this level.

Following hot on Mtawarira’s heels, DHL Stormers inside back Peter Grant will run out for his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match at DHL Newlands when they host the Force on Saturday afternoon.

Grant made his debut at this level in the opening round in 2006, on 11 February, against the Lions (then still called the Cats) in Johannesburg. He is eighth on the list of all-time Vodacom Super Rugby points’ scorers, with 852 points, and the second South African behind Morné Steyn (1,431 points).

Dan Carter of the Crusaders tops this list with 1,547 Vodacom Super Rugby points, with Steyn second and Stirling Mortlock (Brumbies and Rebels) third on 1,036. They are the only players with more than 1,000 points in the competition. Grant needs six points to move past Stephen Donald into the seventh position on the list.

Victor Matfield, whose Vodacom Bulls have a bye this weekend, captained the team from Pretoria for the 79th time last weekend, which has put him equal with Nathan Sharpe’s record for the most times as captain of one team.

Matfield needs three more appearances as skipper to overtake Sharpe as most experienced Vodacom Super Rugby captain ever.

The full list of South African Vodacom Super Rugby centurions:

135: Victor Matfield (Cats 8, Bulls 127)
125: AJ Venter (Cats 19, Sharks 96, Stormers 10), John Smit (Sharks), Jannie du Plessis (Cheetahs 26, Sharks 99)
123: Morné Steyn (Bulls)
122: Stefan Terblanche (Sharks)
118: Bryan Habana (Bulls 61, Stormers 57)
116: Danie Rossouw (Bulls)
114: Jacques Botes (Sharks)
113: Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls), Adi Jacobs (Bulls 21, Cats 4, Sharks 88), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
112: Fourie du Preez (Bulls), Odwa Ndungane (Bulls 10, Sharks 102)
110: Wynand Olivier (Bulls)
108: Ollie le Roux (Natal 24, Sharks 60, Cats 3, Cheetahs 21), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs 61, Sharks 47)
105: Akona Ndungane (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Jean de Villiers (Stormers)
104: Andries Bekker (Stormers), Jano Vermaak (Cats 11, Lions 62, Bulls 31), Werner Kruger (Bulls)
103: Pierre Spies (Bulls)
102: Albert van den Berg (Cats 7, Sharks 95), Keegan Daniel (Sharks)
101: Adriaan Strauss (Bulls 8, Cheetahs 93)
100: Bakkies Botha (Bulls)
*99: Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Peter Grant (Stormers)

Crusaders v Cell C Sharks

The Cell C Sharks have a tough assignment in Christchurch on Saturday morning when they face the in-form Crusaders, who has not lost to a team from South Africa at home in a very long time.

To add insult to injury, the Crusaders are also the one team from New Zealand who the Cell C Sharks always struggle against. In all their years of playing each other, the franchise from Durban has only beaten the Crusaders three times out of 17 matches.

Compared to winning ratios of 13 from 17 against the Blues, nine from 16 against the Highlanders, eight from 16 against the Chiefs and seven from 17 against the Chiefs, it’s clear that the Crusaders are the KwaZulu-Natalians’ Kiwi nemesis.

Coupled with the fact that they have won their last five matches and have not lost to a team from South Africa in New Zealand since 2001, the Cell C Sharks face an uphill battle this weekend.

But their Director of Rugby, Jake White, remained upbeat this week when asked about their upcoming encounter.

“I think that records are there to be broken,” said White.

“To be fair, the Crusaders have lost two games at home this season, so it’s not impossible (to beat them in Christchurch), but we need to make sure we’re up for it.

“The Crusaders are an All Black-laden side and they’re a team that always hit their straps around this time of year. So it is a difficult time to play them at a time in the season when they are on a high.

“In saying that, it’s not mission impossible, we have to believe we have a chance and we’ve got to make sure we give it a crack.”

The teams are:

Crusaders: Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl, Rey Lee-Lo, Ryan Crotty (captain), Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Willi Heinz, Luke Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Jordan Taufua, Samuel Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Ben Funnell, Tim Perry, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, George Whitelock, Andy Ellis, Tyler Bleyendaal, Nafi Tuitavake.

Cell C Sharks: SP Marais, JP Pietersen, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frans Steyn, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Tera Mtembu, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Charl McLeod, Tim Swiel, Heimar Williams.

Crusaders v Cell C Sharks
Date: Saturday, 17 May
SA Time: 09h35
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
Television match official: Chris Watt (New Zealand)

DHL Stormers v Force

It’s been more than four years since the Force’s last Vodacom Super Rugby victory over the DHL Stormers, a winning run the team from Cape Town would like to build on when they host the Western Australians at DHL Newlands on Saturday afternoon.

Injuries have ravaged the DHL Stormers’ campaign this year and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers still heads a long list of players not available because of various injuries.

Furthermore, the Force are enjoying probably their best-ever season and will be a dangerous opponent at DHL Newlands on Saturday, where they will be looking for their first win since February 2007.

Last weekend’s win over the Toyota Cheetahs was the first for the Force in South Africa since 2010. They’ve only once returned back to Perth unbeaten in the Republic and that was in 2007, so the Force will have something big to play for.

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said: “We're aware of the threat posed by the Force. They’re a well-organised team and will test us across the board.

“We’re happy to have Michael Rhodes and Kobus van Wyk back this week, whilst it’s a special moment for Peter Grant who will wear the No.10 jersey in his 100th match for the DHL Stormers.

“Peter and Brok Harris – who will play his 200th match for the union – have been loyal servants and they deserve to be in the limelight this week. Hopefully we can make it a special day for both of them come Saturday.”

Marcel Brache, who played one match at this level for the DHL Stormers and 44 for Western Province, returns to Cape Town on the wing for the Force this weekend.

The teams are:

DHL Stormers: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Peter Grant, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger (captain), Nizaam Carr, Ruan Botha, Michael Rhodes, Pat Cilliers, Deon Fourie, Brok Harris. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Alistair Vermaak, Martin Dreyer, Jean Kleyn, Siya Kolisi, Dylon Frylinck, Kurt Coleman, Michael van der Spuy.

Force: Jayden Hayward, Marcel Brache, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Luke Burton, Nick Cummins, Sias Ebersohn, Ian Prior, Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson (captain), Angus Cottrell, Sam Wykes, Adam Coleman, Kieran Longbottom, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Replacements: Heath Tessmann, Tetera Faulkner, Ollie Hoskins, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Brynard Stander, Justin Turner, Zack Holmes, Patrick Dellit.

DHL Stormers v Force
Date: Saturday, 17 May
SA Time: 17h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Toyota Cheetahs v Brumbies

The Toyota Cheetahs will be looking to start strongly and keep it up for the full 80 minutes when they host the Brumbies at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

No team in Vodacom Super Rugby have scored more tries in the first 20 minutes of their matches than the Toyota Cheetahs’ 10. However, they tend to also concede more tries than all the other teams late in the match (16 on average in the last quarter) and will have to make a step up in this department.

With two wins from three against the Brumbies in Bloem, the Toyota Cheetahs have shown they have what it takes to beat the team from Canberra in South Africa, who have arrived in the Republic as Australian Conference leaders on the back of a victory in their top-of-the-table clash against the Cell C Sharks last weekend.

“The Brumbies are a quality side, they showed that against the Sharks last weekend,” said Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské.

“They don’t have many weaknesses. Their pack is solid and their set-piece play is really good, while they play with lots of continuity, manage to get quick ball at the breakdown and have a good defence.

“The Brumbies count amongst the front runners in the competition, but having said that, we will always give ourselves a chance in Bloemfontein and we know we can win here, even though it won’t be easy.

“We need to cut out the soft moments, such as the two tries the Force scored against us when we had the ball. If you want to win at this level, you simply have to concentrate for the full 80 minutes.”

The teams are:

Toyota Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Cornal Hendricks, Johann Sadie, Ryno Benjamin, Willie le Roux, Johan Goosen, Shaun Venter, Boom Prinsloo, Teboho Mohoje, Heinrich Brussow, Francois Uys, Boela Serfontein, Coenie Oosthuizen, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Caylib Oosthuizen. Replacements: Torsten van Jaarsveld, Trevor Nyakane, Maks van Dyk, Waltie Vermeulen, Carel Greeff, Renier Botha, Elgar Watts, Raymond Rhule.

Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Robbie Coleman, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (captain), Jarrad Butler, Fotu Auelua, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Replacements: Josh Mann-Rea, Ruan Smith, JP Smith, Jordan Smiler, Tom McVerry, Conrad Hoffman, Andrew Smith, Pat McCabe.

Toyota Cheetahs v Brumbies
Date: Saturday, 17 May
SA Time: 19h10
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Waratahs v Lions

The Lions will have to produce their best performance ever against the Waratahs if they are going to win this Vodacom Super Rugby tour match in Sydney on Sunday morning.

As a franchise, ever since the split of the Cats after the 2005 season, the Lions have never beaten the Waratahs – in South Africa or abroad.

Only once, when the Cats won by 28-21 at Ellis Park way back in 2001, have the team based in Johannesburg beaten the New South Welshmen.

As a result, the history between these two sides is very one-sided. The average score in matches between them dating back to 2006 is a comfortable 40-13 in the Waratahs’ favour, who have scored four or more tries on all but one occasion against the Lions (this happened in Joburg in 2007).

The Lions, who will in all likelihood try and put the home team under pressure at scrum time, will have to be mindful of the Waratahs when they get into their attacking groove.

The Sydneysiders have averaged more offloads (13.1) and passes (162) per game than any other side this year and they very seldom kick, with the lowest number on average per game of all teams (17.2) in the competition.

Lions head coach Johan Ackermann made two changes at the back. JW Jonker will start at left wing with Deon van Rensburg filling the right wing berth. This results in Courtnall Skosan shifting to fullback.

The teams are:

Waratahs TBC
Lions: 15. Courtnall Skosan, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Stefan Watermeyer, 11. JW Jonker, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (c), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Martin Muller, 4. MB Lusaseni, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Rudi Mathee, 20. Warwick Tecklenburg, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Chrysander Botha

Waratahs v Lions
Date: Sunday, 18 May
SA Time: 08h05
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

Other fixtures (South African kick-off times):

Friday, 16 May: 09h35: Hurricanes v Highlanders – Wellington

Saturday, 17 May: 11h40: Reds v Rebels – Brisbane

Byes: Vodacom Bulls, Chiefs, Blues

Inter Provincial Women A
Saturday, August 01 2015
15:00 - EP vs KZN
NMMU Missionvale Campus, PE
Inter Provincial Women B
15:00 - Valke vs Golden Lions
Isak Steyl Stadium
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
00:00 - Leopards U19 vs Western Province U19
Profert Olen Park, Potch
00:00 - Eastern Province U19 vs Golden Lions U19
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
00:00 - Free State U19 vs Blue Bulls U19
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

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