The Vodacom Bulls kick off the local action on Saturday morning when they face the Waratahs at 11h45 (SA time) in the Allianz Stadium in Sydney. The Pretoria side came unstuck last weekend against the Brumbies, who beat them 23-6 in Canberra, and will be hoping for a quick return to winning ways.
In Singapore, the DHL Stormers will be in action in their first match against the Sunwolves. Last weekend the Sunwolves suffered a 40-22 reverse against the visiting Force. A win for the Cape side will see them equal their best run of four wins in a row against overseas opponents set across the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Fresh from their rest weekend, the DHL Stormers also know they have to win to maintain their lead in the overall South African Group. They currently have 29 points from their nine games, which include six wins.The Toyota Cheetahs are home again after a three-match tour of Australia and they entertain the Southern Kings in a 17h05 kick-off in Bloemfontein. The Kings suffered several injury setbacks recently, however, the previous two meetings between the two sides have been decided by close margins.
Also, the Port Elizabeth side will be eager to show an improvement following their loss last week to the Blues.
Meanwhile, in Johannesburg, the Emirates Lions host the visiting Blues and the Highveld side know they have to win to keep the pressure on the front-runners as well as the fast-advancing Cell C Sharks in the local conference standings.
In the final encounter of a marathon Saturday fixture-list, the Jaguares host the travelling Cell C Sharks in Buenos Aires. The team from Durban scored a morale boosting win over the Hurricanes at home last Saturday, a win which has revitalised their hopes of qualifying for the play-offs.
Elsewhere, the Highlanders and Crusaders clash in the opening clash of the weekend when they tackle each other on Friday morning (SA time) in Dunedin. That match will be followed by the Rebels versus Brumbies meeting in Melbourne. The Hurricanes and Reds go to battle on Saturday morning in Wellington.
Waratahs v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
SA Time: 11h45
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe and James Leckie
Television Match Official: George Ayoub
· Vodacom Bulls head coach, Nollis Marais, has named promising lock Jason Jenkins and wing Jamba Ulengo in his starting fifteen for the showdown against the Waratahs on Saturday.
· Jenkins pulled out of the first tour match against the Force due to an injury, but is now fit again and will combine with regular Junior Springbok lock partner RG Snyman. He replaces Marvin Orie, who moves to the bench.
· Ulengo, who returned home from Perth before the Force match, is back and will start in place of the injured Travis Ismaiel at wing.
· Jannes Kirsten starts at flank in place of Arno Botha, who drops out of the match-day squad.
· The halfback combinations that started against the Brumbies last weekend is swopped with Rudy Paige and Tian Schoeman starting and Piet van Zyl and Francois Brummer benched.
· Similarly, Lizo Gqoboka will start at loosehead and Trevor Nyakane will come off the bench.
· Jaco Visagie and Pierre Schoeman also get playing time, replacing Bandise Maku and Werner Kruger on the bench. Dries Swanepoel dislodged Dan Kriel as back-up backline player.
· The Waratahs won their last meeting against the Vodacom Bulls in 2014, but the Pretoria side won eight on the bounce against the Tahs before that.
· Despite losing three of their last four at home to the Vodacom Bulls, the Waratahs have won seven of 10 when hosting them.
· Of the 35 players to take 20+ lineout throws this season, Adriaan Strauss has the best success rate (95%) despite only one player taking more throws (112).
· As well as a strong lineout the Vodacom Bulls boast the best tackling success rate in the competition (88%).
· No side has conceded fewer tries in the final quarter of matches this season than the Tahs (3), whilst the Vodacom Bulls have conceded the fewest first half tries (4).
Vodacom Bulls head coach Nollis Marais: “We did not perform to expectations last weekend and need to make a big step up this weekend. The idea is to freshen up the squad a bit and go at the Waratahs with a slightly different team. They are formidable opponents and we owe it to ourselves to give it a good go in our final match on tour.”
Vodacom Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss: A win will make this tour a very successful one, despite last weekend’s defeat. We know we have to deliver a classy performance if we want to outplay the Waratahs, but I think we can do it.”
Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan. Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Ned Hanigan, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 SP Marais, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Dries Swanepoel.
Sunwolves v DHL Stormers
Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
SA Time: 13h55
Venue: Singapore National Stadium, Singapore
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Shuhei Kubo
Television Match Official: Takashi Hareda
· DHL Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck has made just two changes to the backline that played the Waratahs at DHL Newlands, with Johnny Kotze replacing Leolin Zas on the wing and Louis Schreuder getting a chance to start at scrumhalf with Nic Groom on the replacements bench.
· In the front row hooker Scarra Ntubeni makes his first start since his return from injury, with Bongi Mbonambi set to make an impact in the second half.
· Lock JD Schickerling comes back into the starting line-up as well, with Rynhardt Elstadt shifting to flank alongside Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr who moves to the back of the scrum.
· This will be the second meeting between these sides, with the DHL Stormers winning 46-19 in Cape Town in their Round 7 clash.
· The Sunwolves’ home games have seen 55 points per game scored on average.
· The Cape team have won each of their last three games outside of South Africa, their best run outside of the country since winning four in a row across 2011 and 2012.
· Eben Etzebeth is the only player to make more than 50 tackles (57) this season without missing at least one.
DHL Stormers head coach, Robbie Fleck: “It is great for us to be here as the first DHL Stormers team to play in Singapore, but we have got a job to do and we are firmly focused on delivering an improved performance. The bye was good from a recovery point of view, but this phase of the competition is crucial for us and we have to hit the ground running against the Sunwolves.”
Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (captain), 11 John Stewart, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Fa’Atiga Lemalu, 4 Timothy Bond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami. Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Mifiposeti Paea.
DHL Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kobus van Wyk, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Huw Jones.
Toyota Cheetahs v Southern Kings
Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
SA Time: 17:05
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, AJ Jacobs
Television Match Official: Johan Greeff
· Toyota Cheetahs head coach, Franco Smith, has made numerous changes to his team that lost to the Waratahs in Sydney. In the pack Charles Marais, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Nicolaas van Dyk, Lodewyk de Jager and Uzair Cassiem are all starting again after playing off the bench in their 6-21 loss in Sydney.
· Flank Paul Schoeman is also starting team after serving a one-week suspension for foul play. He replaces Willie Britz, who in tur is out for up to six weeks with a knee injury.
· Ox Nche, Luan de Bruin, Henco Venter and Carl Wegner all drop down to the bench. At the back Shaun Venter and Tian Meyer are switching places at No 9, with Meyer on the bench.
· Skipper Francois Venter is picked at outside centre with Michael van der Spuy starting in the No 12-jersey. Nico Lee is now a reserve.
· Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids named Shane Gates as captain for the clash in Bloemfontein after Steven Sykes was ruled out with a shoulder injury. He has a ligament tear in his shoulder.
· Davids made four changes to his starting line-up due to injuries.
· Schalk Oelofse comes up from the bench to fill in for Sykes at lock, while JP Jonck plays at flank in place of Chris Cloete, who is out with a knee injury. Aidon Davis comes in at No 8 te replace CJ Velleman who is out with a broken thumb.
· At the back JP du Plessis comes in at outside centre to fill in for Stefan Watermeyer who is out with a tendon injury to his foot.
· Cornell Hess comes onto the bench to fill the spot opened up by Oelofse starting.
· This will be the third Vodacom Super Rugby meeting between the sides with the Toyota Cheetahs winning the previous two, by margins of 14 and 12 points.
· The Toyota Cheetahs have lost their last two at home to fellow South African teams and have not lost more in a row to teams from their own country since losing three on the bounce across 2012 and 2013.
· The Southern Kings’ last six away games have all been settled by margins of more than 20 points (Won 1, Lost 5).
· Wing Sergeal Petersen has made an average gain of 11.8 metres per carry so far this season, the best rate of any player to make 10+ carries.
Southern Kings coach Deon Davids: “They (Toyota Cheetahs) are desperate to put up a good performance having come off a tough tour. They are currently playing a brand of rugby that uses the width of the field and they like to attack from anywhere, where possible, so we will have to deal with that.”
Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Henco Venter, 20 Carl Wegner, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Nico Lee.
Southern Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Shane Gates (captain), 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 James Hall, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 JP Jonck, 5 JC Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sti Sithole. Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Cornell Hess, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Leighton Eksteen.
Emirates Lions v Blues
Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
SA Time: 19:15 local
Venue: Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Pro Legoete
Television Match Official: Shaun Veldsman
· The Emirates Lions will have their regular front row back in action when they host the Blues on Saturday, with both Malcolm Marx and Julian Redelinghuys back in the starting line-up. Both have been out due to injuries and they replace Akker van der Merwe and Pieter Scholtz respectively in the front row.
· Scrumhalf Ross Cronjé gets the nod while Faf de Klerk moves to the replacements.
· Rohan Janse van Rensburg will partner Lionel Mapoe in midfield which means Howard Mnisi moves to the substitute bench.
· The Emirates Lions have won their last two against the Blues, previously they had never won back to back games against the Auckland side, losing seven of the eight games prior to that.
· However the Lions have lost their last two at home; they’ve not lost more in a row on home soil since 2012 when they lost five consecutive games.
· They are the most dangerous side in the 20 minutes before half time this season so far, scoring the most points (97) and having the best points differential in this period (+55).
· The Emirates Lions (27.6) and Blues (27.1) have averaged the most defenders beaten of any sides in Vodacom Super Rugby in 2016.
· Time wise, no side has enjoyed more possession than the Blues this season, an average of 18mins 10sec per game.
Emirates Lions: 15 Jaco Van Der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller/Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf De Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.
Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Hoani Matenga, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley. Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Kara Pryor, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sa’u.
Jaguares v Cell C Sharks
Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
SA Time: 17:40
Venue: Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Juan Sylvestre, Damian Schneider
Television Match Official: Santiago Borsani
· Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie will start ahead of Garth April when the Cell C Sharks take on the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday evening.
· It will be his first start in Vodacom Super Rugby this year after returning to action from a shoulder injury off the bench in the 32-15 win against the Hurricanes last weekend. He is also the captain.
· Other changes to the starting fifteen sees Odwa Ndungane come in on the wing in place of Lwazi Mvovo, who is rested.
· Jean Deysel replaces Jean-Luc du Preez who was not considered for selection after sustaining a minor injury in training on Tuesday, while Etienne Oosthuizen, is rotated to the bench with Lubabalo Mtyanda named to start.
· In the final change to the run-on team, Lourens Adriaanse makes way for Coenie Oosthuizen in the front row, while there is a welcome return to action for Lubabalo Mtembu, named on the bench after missing much of the season due to injury.
· On the bench, Chiliboy Ralepelle is bracketed with Kyle Cooper to cover Franco Marais at hooker and Joe Pietersen is bracketed with Sibusiso Sithole amongst the backs on the bench.
· This will be the second meeting between the sides in Vodacom Super Rugby with the Durban outfit emerging 19-15 winners in Round 2.
· The Jaguares won their last game against the Kings by 46 points, although six of their eight games prior to that had been settled by eight points or fewer.
· The Cell C Sharks’ last four away games outside of South Africa have all seen a losing bonus point picked up (Won 2, Lost 2).
· They have averaged the most turnovers won per game so far (9), and centre Andre Esterhuizen has won a team high 12 but six other players have chipped in with five or more.
· The Durban side have benefitted from the poorest goal kicking from their opposition of any side this season (60%).
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold: “The Jaguares are very physical, they’re going to come at you hard and they have a partisan crowd behind them, I think it’s a very tough challenge for us. We must remain humble and rest. Those are the most important. We know what is waiting for us on Saturday night.”
Team Cell C Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle/Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Garth April, 23 Sibusiso Sithole/Joe Pietersen.
Bye: Chiefs, Western Force
Other Round 12 fixtures:
Friday, 13 May
09h35: Highlanders v Crusaders @ Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
11h45: Rebels v Brumbies @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, 14 May
09h35: Hurricanes v Reds @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Bye: Chiefs, Western Force