Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo is set to earn his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby cap for the Cell C Sharks when they face the Reds on Friday morning (11h00, SA time) in Brisbane. The Durbanites will be the first local team to be in action in 2017, which started earlier on Thursday when the Blues outgunned the Rebels 56-18 in Melbourne.
Mvovo has played 17 Tests for the Springboks and the experienced flyer aims to celebrate his 100-cap milestone with a win at the Suncorp Stadium. His prolific try-scoring ability has seen him score an impressive 78 Vodacom Super Rugby tries so far in the black-and-white jersey of the Cell C Sharks.
Cell C Sharks head coach, Robert du Preez, is making his Vodacom Super Rugby coaching debut and praised Mvovo for reaching his personal milestone.
“Lwazi playing in his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Cell C Sharks is a massive achievement and I’m pleased for him,” said Du Preez.
“He is a guy that sets high standards for himself and it’s great to have someone with his experience in our set-up. He sets a good example for the young players and hopefully, we can make it a memorable day for him this Friday.”
The other five South African teams are all in action on Saturday. Last year’s beaten finalists, the Emirates Lions, travel to Bloemfontein to face the Toyota Cheetahs in a 15h05 kick-off. Warren Whiteley leads an experienced Emirates Lions side with eight Springboks in their starting line-up.
Next up is the Southern Kings when they go into battle against the powerful Jaguares in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The visiting side is loaded with Argentinean internationals, however, the younger Kings side will be motivated to start positively on home turf.
In Cape Town, the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls round up the local action in what promises to be another full-blooded, exciting North/South derby in front of a packed DHL Newlands crowd.
Springbok flank Siya Kolisi is the new DHL Stormers captain and big Bok lock Eben Etzebeth his deputy. The Capetonians will seek out to extend their recent home dominance over their arch rivals, while the Pretoria side is looking to break a five-year losing streak in Cape Town.Lood de Jager, the Springbok lock who joined the Vodacom Bulls from the Toyota Cheetahs in the off-season, is set for his first start in the Pretoria-based team. Meanwhile, flyhalf Handré Pollard is leading the team for the first time as the captain in his first appearance since 29 May 2015, when he played against the Brumbies in Canberra. Injuries kept the Springbok No 10 out of rugby during the entire 2016 season.
Vodacom Super Rugby Resources:
2017 MEDIA GUIDE (correct as at 23 February 2017) | MATCH PACKS | MATCH CENTRE
ROUND 1 MATCHES (SA times)
Reds vs Cell C Sharks
Reds: 15. Karmichael Hunt, 14. Chris Kuridrani, 13. Samu Kerevi, 12. Duncan Paia’aua, 11. Eto Nabuli, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Nick Frisby, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. George Smith, 6. Adam Korczyk, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Rob Simmons, 3. Sam Talakai, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. James Slipper (captain). Replacements: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Markus Vanzati, 18. Sef Fa’agase, 19. Izack Rodda, 20. Hendrik Tui, 21. James Tuttle, 22. Jake McIntyre, 23. Izaia Perese.
Cell C Sharks: 15. Curwin Bosch, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie (captain), 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (vice-captain), 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Philip van der Walt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20. Jacques Vermeulen, 21. Michael Claasens, 22. Jeremy Ward, 23. Clement Poitrenaud.
Date: Friday, 24 February
SA Time: 11h00
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Nick Briant (NZ)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (NZ), Nic Berry (Aus)
Television match official: Damien Mitchelmore
Toyota Cheetahs vs Emirates Lions
Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Nico Lee, 12. Clinton Swart, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Tian Meyer, 8. Paul Schoeman, 7. Oupa Mohoje, 6. Uzair Cassiem, 5. Reniel Hugo, 4. Justin Basson, 3. Johan Coetzee, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1. Charles Marais. Replacements: 16. Elandre Huggett, 17. Danie Mienie, 18. Ox Nche, 19. Francois Uys, 20. Niell Jordaan, 21. Zee Mkhabela, 22. Niel Marais, 23. Ryno Benjamin.
Emirates Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Lionel Mapoe, 13. Howard Mnisi, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Johannes Jonker, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Harold Vorster, 23. Jaco van der Walt.
Date: Saturday, 25 February
SA Time: 15h05
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
Southern Kings vs Jaguares
Southern Kings: 15. Chrysander Botha, 14. Makazole Mapimpi, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Waylon Murray, 11. Malcolm Jaer, 10. Lionel Cronje (vice-captain), 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Ruaan Lerm, 7. Stefan Willemse, 6. Andisa Ntsila, 5. Mzwanele Zito, 4. Irne Herbst, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2. Michael Willemse, 1. Schalk Ferreira (captain). Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk van der Merwe, 18. Chris Heiberg, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Chris Cloete, 21. Rudi van Rooyen, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Luzuko Vulindlu.
Date: Saturday, 25 February
SA Time: 17h15
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls
DHL Stormers: 15. SP Marais, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Siya Kolisi (captain), 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Chris van Zyl, 20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21. Dewaldt Duvenage, 22. Dan Kriel, 23. Robert du Preez.
Vodacom Bulls: 15. Jesse Kriel, 14. Jamba Ulengo, 13. Dries Swanepoel, 12. Burger Odendaal, 11. Travis Ismaiel, 10. Handre Pollard (captain), 9. Rudy Paige, 8. Hanro Liebenberg, 7. Jacques Potgieter, 6. Nick de Jager, 5. RG Snyman, 4. Lood de Jager, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16. Edgar Marutlelle, 17. Jacobie Adriaanse, 18. Lizo Gqoboka, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Ruan Steenkamp, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Tian Schoeman, 23. Warrick Gelant.
Date: Saturday, 25 February
SA Time: 19h30
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Other fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Thursday, 23 February:
10h45: Rebels 18, Blues 58 (Melbourne)
Friday, 24 February:
08h35: Highlanders v Chiefs (Dunedin)
Saturday, 25 February:
06h15: Sunwolves v Hurricanes (Tokyo)
08h35: Crusaders v Brumbies (Christchurch)
10h45: Waratahs v Force (Sydney)