This might sound a bit funny, but the fewer tries the Vodacom Bulls score against the DHL Stormers, the better their chances of winning.
That certainly has been the case since 2007, the last time the team from Pretoria recorded a big win over their southern counterparts.
In 11 Vodacom Super Rugby matches since, the Vodacom Bulls have scored 12 tries – one in each match and two in one of their matches in 2012, which they ended up losing.
During this time, the DHL Stormers were outscored by the Vodacom Bulls only twice.
In the nine matches where the Capetonians scored the same amount of tries or more than the team from Pretoria, the men in blue won five, including the 2010 Final in Soweto, where the visitors scored two tries to one.
Earlier this year in Pretoria, the DHL Stormers scored two tries to the Vodacom Bulls’ one, but still lost by 28-12 in a hard-fought match.
Allister Coetzee, head coach of the DHL Stormers, said he is not expecting anything different this weekend.
“Matches between the Stormers and the Bulls are always hard-fought and memorable encounters and this will be no different,” said Coetzee.
“Both teams have come off a break and both sides have had players playing for the Springboks, but you don’t have to ask any player twice to get himself up for a game of this nature.”
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said his team aims to keep their slim play-off hopes alive and need to play positive rugby at DHL Newlands.
“We all know the maths – we need to go to Cape Town and get the full haul,” said Ludeke.
“It is a massive challenge but we feel that we can do it. Making the play-offs was one of our clear targets and we need a very positive performance at Newlands to make it happen.”
Vodacom Bulls captain Victor Matfield said: “The Stormers are playing without any pressure at the moment and with their new confidence on attack, will test our defence. I believe defence is all about attitude, so we will have to look at ourselves first and decide how much we really want this.”
The teams are:
DHL Stormers: Jaco Taute, Gio Aplon, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt Coleman, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger (captain), Nizaam Carr, Ruan Botha, Michael Rhodes, Pat Cilliers, Deon Fourie, Alistair Vermaak. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Sti Sithole, Martin Dreyer, Manuel Carizza, Siya Kolisi, Louis Schreuder, Peter Grant, Seabelo Senatla.
Vodacom Bulls: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Handré Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Grant Hattingh, Jacques Engelbrecht, Jono Ross, Victor Matfield (captain), Paul Willemse, Werner Kruger, Callie Visagie, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Morné Mellett, Marcel van der Merwe, Marvin Orie, Roelof Smit, Piet van Zyl, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, William Small-Smith.
Head to head (since 1998)
Vodacom Bulls Won 9, Lost 11, 1 Drawn
Points for 502; Points against 460
Tries scored 47; Tries conceded 43
Average score 24-22