Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will make his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby appearance for the DHL Stormers when they face the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday in the second of their three-match tour of New Zealand. Kick-off is 09h35 SA time.
The imposing 25-year-old lock, who made his Vodacom Super Rugby debut for the Cape Town-based franchise in 2012, has been named vice-captain for the clash at the Forsyth-Barr Stadium with regular skipper Siya Kolisi returning after being rested last week.
Etzebeth can boast with the unique distinction of having reached 50 Tests before playing in the same number of Vodacom Super Rugby matches. He is currently on 54 Tests for the Springboks after making his debut against England in Durban in 2012.
Frans Steyn achieved the same distinction when he made his 50th Springbok appearance in 2012 (40 VSR caps for the Sharks), while the other local players on this unique list are: Joe van Niekerk (2010, 43 VSR caps), CJ van der Linde (2009, 38), Os du Randt (2004, 25), Percy Montgomery (2001, 43), Andre Venter (2000, 30), Joost van der Westhuizen (1998, 27) and Mark Andrews (1998, 30).The DHL Stormers is one of three local teams involved in overseas matches, while the Vodacom Bulls and the Hurricanes have byes this weekend. Apart from the men from Cape Town, the rest of the SA sides all play on Saturday, starting with the Emirates Lions who face the Western Force at 11h45 in Perth.
The Force won each of the last six games between these teams, with the Highvelders’ only victory coming in the second ever meeting between them, in 2007, while their clash in 2006 ended in a draw. The men from Johannesburg won their last two matches in Australia and a victory in Perth will give them their best-ever winning streak on Aussie soil.
The action then moves to Bloemfontein for the clash between hosts Toyota Cheetahs and the unbeaten Crusaders, which gets underway at 17h15. It’s 2-all between these sides in the Free State capital, with the home team winning in 2009 and 2011, but the men from Canterbury came out tops in their last visit to Central South Africa, winning 52-31 in 2014.
Deon Davids’ Southern Kings then face their fourth consecutive Australian opponent when the Rebels visit the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for their 19h30 encounter. The Kings triumphed over the Waratahs last Saturday to end their Aussie tour on a positive note.
However, the Melbourne side will be a tough nut to crack as proven by their recent win over the Brumbies and last Saturday’s draw with the Cell C Sharks in Durban. The Kings clinched a close fought 30-27 win in their only previous meeting with the Rebels, in 2013 in Melbourne.
The Jaguares entertain the visiting Cell C Sharks (21h40) in the late evening fixture in Buenos Aires. The team from Durban are yet to lose in this fixture after winning all three previous games between the two sides. However, the Jaguares have won their last four games on home turf, three of which were against South African opponents.
Highlanders v DHL Stormers
Highlanders: 15. Ben Smith (captain), 14. Waisake Naholo, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Rob Thompson, 11. Patrick Osborne, 10. Marty Banks, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Liam Squire, 7. Dillon Hunt, 6. Gareth Evans, 5. Tom Franklin, 4. Alex Ainley, 3. Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2. Liam Coltman, 1. Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: 16. Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17. Aki Seiuli, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Joe Wheeler, 20. Jackson Hemopo, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Fletcher Smith, 23. Matt Faddes.
DHL Stormers: 15. SP Marais, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Dan Kriel, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6. Siya Kolisi (captain), 5. Jan de Klerk, 4. Eben Etzebeth (vice-captain), 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Oli Kebble. Replacements: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. JC Janse van Rensburg, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Kobus van Dyk, 20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21. Dewaldt Duvenage, 22. Shaun Treeby, 23. Bjorn Basson.
Date: Friday, 28 April
SA Time: 09h35
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Mike Fraser
Television match official: Aaron Paterson
Western Force v Emirates Lions
Western Force: 15. Marcel Brache, 14. James Verity-Amm, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Bill Meakes, 11. Alex Newsome, 10. Luke Burton, 9. Ian Prior, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Matt Hodgson (captain), 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Ross Haylett-Petty, 4. Lewis Carmichael, 3. Tetera Faulkner, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Pek Cowan. Replacements: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Shambeckler Vui, 19. Onehunga Havilli, 20. Richard Hardwick, 21. Mitch Short, 22. Jono Lance, 23. Peter Grant.
Emirates Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Sylvian Mahuza, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Kwagga Smith, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Johannes Jonker, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Cyle Brink, 21. Dillon Smit, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Anthony Volmink.
Date: Saturday 29 April
SA Time: 13h55
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown, Amy Perrett
Television match official: Damien Mitchelmoore
Toyota Cheetahs v Crusaders
Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Sergeal Petersen 13. Francois Venter (captain), 12. Nico Lee, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Niel Marais, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Paul Schoeman, 7. Oupa Mohoje, 6. Uzair Cassiem, 5. Carl Wegner, 4. Armandt Koster, 3. Johan Coetzee, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1. Ox Nche. Replacements: 16. Elandre Huggett, 17. Charles Marais, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Francois Uys, 20. Henco Venter, 21. Niell Jordaan/William Small-Smith, 22. Tian Meyer, 23. Clinton Swart.
Crusaders: 15. David Havili, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Matt Todd, 6. Jordan Taufua, 5. Sam Whitelock (captain), 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Joe Moody. Replacements:
- Andrew Makalio, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Manasa Mataele.
Date: Saturday 29 April
SA Time: 17h15
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant referees: Nic Berry, AJ Jacobs
Television match official: Johan Greeff
Southern Kings v Melbourne Rebels
Southern Kings: 15. Masixole Banda, 14. Wandile Mjekevu, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Luzuko Vulindlu, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Lionel Cronje (captain), 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Andisa Ntsila, 7. Tyler Paul, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4. Irne Herbst, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2. Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. Justin Forwood. Replacements: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Schalk van der Merwe, 18. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19. Mzwanele Zito, 20. Stefaan Willemse, 21. Johan Steyn, 22. Nicolaas Hanekom, 23. Pieter-Steyn de Wet.
Melbourne Rebels: TBA
Date: Saturday 29 April
SA Time: 19h30
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Rodney Boneparte
Television match official: Christie du Preez
Jaguares v Cell C Sharks
Jaguares – TBA
Cell C Sharks: 15. Rhyno Smith, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Jeremy Ward, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Michael Claassens, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Philip van der Walt (captain), 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Ruan Botha, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Thomas du Toit. Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Tera Mtembu, 21. Cobus Reinach, 22. Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23. Johan Deysel.
Date: Saturday 29 April
SA Time: 21h40
Venue: Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Damian Schneider
Television match official: Santiago Borsani
Other Round 10 fixtures:
Saturday 29 April
09h35: Chiefs v Sunwolves (Hamilton)
11h45: Reds v Waratahs (Brisbane)
Sunday 30 April
08h05: Brumbies v Blues (Canberra)
Byes: Vodacom Bulls and Hurricanes.