Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie returns to the Cell C Sharks team to face the Southern Kings on Saturday as well as resuming the captaincy from Philip van der Walt for this local Vodacom Super Rugby derby which kicks off at 17h15 in Port Elizabeth.
Two South African sides are in action on Friday morning and both are involved in away matches. The Toyota Cheetahs start their New Zealand leg in Auckland where they take on the Blues (09h25), while the next match features the Emirates Lions against the Brumbies in Canberra (11h45).
The Vodacom Bulls host the Highlanders in the early Saturday afternoon kick-off (15h05) at Loftus Versfeld. The DHL Stormers, Chiefs, Sunwolves and Waratahs all have byes.
Last weekend the Jaguares snapped a four-match losing streak with their comeback win over the Sunwolves and this coming Saturday they host the Force in the final fixture of Round 12.
Lambie came on as a second-half substitute against the Force last Saturday and the away match in PE will be his first start since returning from a lengthy injury absence. He takes over the pivot role from promising youngster Curwin Bosch, who is preparing with the Junior Springboks for next month’s World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Georgia.
The Durban side travel to PE on the back of four previous wins in their fixture against the Kings. However, victory for Deon David’s team will hand them three consecutive wins for the very first time. The Kings’ starting team is similar to the one that started in the 44-3 win over the Rebels two weeks ago, with the only change being the return of Schalk van der Merwe at loosehead prop for Justin Forwood, who is out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
Head coach Robert du Preez has largely retained the same Durban side that beat the Force 37-12 at home last week and apart from the inclusion of Lambie, he also made three rotational changes. Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo is back in the starting mix following his rest weekend. In the front row Beast Mtawarira returns for Thomas du Toit while Franco Marais and Chiliboy Ralepelle swap jerseys.
Johan Ackermann’s team have lost only one of their previous ten matches and they are currently the runaway leaders in Africa Conference 1 with 42 points. Another triumph will give the Highveld outfit a clean sweep of victories in Australia.
Ackermann made five changes to the side which thumped the Rebels 47-10 in Melbourne, including a fresh front row combination.
Franco Smith’s Toyota Cheetahs flew to New Zealand immediately after last Saturday’s heart-breaking loss to the Highlanders and they must now pick themselves up for the challenge that awaits them in Auckland.
The Vodacom Bulls are normally rock-solid at Fortress Loftus, however, they will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses at home for the first time since 2015 when they entertain the Highlanders.
Hanro Liebenberg, the former Junior Springboks skipper, missed last weekend’s defeat against the Crusaders because of a hamstring niggle and the number eight returns to the side in place of Renaldo Bothma. He takes over the captaincy from Adriaan Strauss, who has a foot injury.
Vodacom Super Rugby Resources:
Blues v Toyota Cheetahs
Blues: 15. Melani Nanai, 14. Declan O’Donnell, 13. George Moala, 12. TJ Faiane, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Piers Francis, 9. Augustine Pulu, 8. Akira Ioane, 7. Blake Gibson, 6. Steven Luatua, 5. Scott Scrafton, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. James Parsons (captain), 1. Pauliasi Manu. Replacements: 16. Hame Faiva, 17. Alex Hodgman, 18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20. Kara Pryor, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Michael Collins.
Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Francois Venter (captain), 12. William Small-Smith, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Tian Meyer, 8. Henco Venter, 7. Oupa Mohoje, 6. Niell Jordaan, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Carl Wegner, 3. Tom Botha, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1. Charles Marais. Replacements: 16. Elandre Huggett, 17. Ox Nche, 18. Johan Coetzee, 19. Armandt Koster, 20. Uzair Cassiem, 21. Shaun Venter, 22. Niel Marais, 23. Clinton Swart.
Date: Friday, 12 May
SA Time: 09h35
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson, Angus Mabey
Television match official: Aaron Paterson
Brumbies v Emirates Lions
Brumbies: 15. Aidan Toua, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Kyle Godwin, 11. James Dargaville, 10. Wharenui Hawera, 9. Joe Powell, 8. Jordan Smiler, 7. Jarrad Butler, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter (captain), 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Josh Mann-Rea, 1. Ben Alexander.
Substitutes: 16. Robbie Abel, 17. Nic Mayhew, 18. Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19. Blake Enever, 20. Ben Hyne, 21. De Wet Roos, 22. Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23. Tom Banks.
Emirates Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Sylvian Mahuza, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Kwagga Smith, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Johannes Jonker, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Robert Kruger/Cyle Brink, 21. Dillon Smit, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Anthony Volmink.
Date: Friday, 12 May
SA Time: 11h45
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Jordan Way
Television match official: Ian Smith
Vodacom Bulls v Highlanders
Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Jade Stighling, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Burger Odendaal, 11. Jamba Ulengo, 10. Tian Schoeman, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7. Jannes Kirsten, 6. Ruan Steenkamp, 5. RG Snyman, 4. Jason Jenkins, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18. Coenraad van Vuuren, 19. Lood de Jager, 20. Nick de Jager, 21. Rudy Paige, 22 .Tony Jantjies, 23. Jan Serfontein.
Date: Saturday, 13 May
SA Time: 15h05
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Cwengile Jadezweni
Television match official: Johan Greeff
Southern Kings v Cell C Sharks
Southern Kings: 15.Maxisole 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.Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: 16. Kurt Haupt/Tanga Balekile, 17.Chris Heiberg, 18.Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19.Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Stefan Willemse, 21.Johan Steyn, 22.Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23. Nicolaas Hanekom.
Cell C Sharks: 15. Rhyno Smith, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Kukhanyo Am, 12. Jeremy Ward, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie (captain), 9. Michael Claassens, 8. Dan du Preez, 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. Tera Mtembu, 21. Cobus Reinach, 22. Garth April, 23. S’busiso Nkosi.
Date: Saturday, 13 May
SA Time: 17h15
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, AJ Jacobs
Television match official: Christie du Preez
Other Round 12 fixtures:
Saturday, 13 May 2017
09h35: Crusaders v Hurricanes (Christchurch)
11h45: Rebels v Reds (Melbourne)
23h40: Jaguares v Force (Buenos Aires)
Byes: DHL Stormers, Chiefs, Sunwolves, Waratahs.