It’s North v South at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening when the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers clash for the first time this season.
The team from the Cape hold the historical advantage over their counterparts from Pretoria, mainly thanks to a couple of very good seasons for the DHL Stormers lately. But they have not been at their best this year and the Vodacom Bulls will be looking to keep winning as they still have their eye on a place in the playoffs.
This is a replay of the 2010 final, which took place at Orlando Stadium in Soweto because of Football World Cup preparations at Loftus Versfeld.
The two captains on that day almost four years ago, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger, will run in front again on Saturday. Because of retirement, injury and illness, both these Springbok stalwarts missed most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but they have been very good lately.
Matfield said his team will have to remain composed and stick to their structures on Saturday evening.
“The Stormers have shown some decent form in the last couple of weeks and are playing without fear, which makes them dangerous opponents,” said Matfield.
“As is the norm with local derbies, it will be a physical affair and the challenge for us will be to remain calm and not get sucked into the match they want us to play.”
The DHL Stormers will rock up to Pretoria with a very young team after being decimated by injuries to numerous key players, including regular captain Jean de Villiers, which is why Burger has taken over the captaincy.
“Yes, this is a young team,” agreed DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, “but we have faith in the squad selected and every player has a chance to make an impact at one of the toughest venues in world rugby, Loftus Versfeld.
“We’ve been unlucky with injuries this week – you can’t prevent concussion or broken noses and the like, but, at the same time it’s an exciting moment for the likes of Jean Kleyn, Alistair Vermaak and Dylon Frylinck – all of whom will be on debut.”
The teams are:
Vodacom Bulls: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Handré Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Grant Hattingh, Jacques du Plessis, Jono Ross, Victor Matfield, Paul Willemse, Marcel van der Merwe, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling, Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Morné Mellett, Werner Kruger, Jacques Engelbrecht, Wimpie van der Walt, Rudy Paige, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, William Small-Smith.
DHL Stormers: Jaco Taute, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Peter Grant, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt Coleman, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger (captain), Nizaam Carr, Ruan Botha, Jean Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris. Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Alistair Vermaak, Martin Dreyer, Siya Kolisi, Deon Fourie, Dylon Frylinck, Michael van der Spuy, Devon Williams.
Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers
Date: Saturday, 10 May
SA Time: 19h10
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Head to head (since 1998)
Vodacom Bulls 8 Won 11 DHL Stormers, 1 Drawn
Vodacom Bulls 474 Points for 448 DHL Stormers
Vodacom Bulls 46 Tries scored 41 DHL Stormers
Vodacom Bulls 24 Average score 22 DHL Stormers
Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs