Vodacom Super Rugby resumes after the international break when the Cell C Sharks host the Vodacom Bulls at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Friday evening. The match is one of four involving teams from the South African Conference and starts at 19h00.
The Southern Kings are boosted by the return of several fit-again regulars for their difficult away match against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires. Kick-off is at 01h05 on Saturday (SA time).
Two local matches are scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with the Toyota Cheetahs and the DHL Stormers kicking off proceedings at 15h05 in Bloemfontein, where a typical SA derby is expected. The remaining match sees the in-form Emirates Lions take on the visiting Sunwolves at their Highveld fortress (17h15).
Cell C Sharks coach, Robert du Preez, has made several changes to his side that defeated the DHL Stormers in their last match before the break. Exciting youngster Curwin Bosch is back from Junior Springbok duty and is picked at fullback, while Garth April will perform the flyhalf duties. The side will be captained by flanker Philip van de Walt.
However, Springbok forwards Tendai Mtawarira (prop) and Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward) will both sit out the home encounter. They are joined on the side-line by backs Kobus van Wyk (wing) and Lwazi Mvovo (utility), who have injury niggles.
Nollis Marais, the Vodacom Bulls coach, has selected the in-form Springbok centre pair of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel in his midfield. The impressive duo played together in two of the three Springbok matches against France.
An assortment of injuries has forced Marais to reshuffle his match squad for the match. With Handré Pollard still injured, Tony Jantjies gets the nod at flyhalf over Tian Schoeman (bench).
Regular wings Jamba Ulengo and Travis Ismaiel are unavailable through injury and are replaced by Duncan Matthews and debutant Kefentse Mahlo. Nick de Jager comes in at No 8 while RG Snyman has served his suspension and resumes his lock partnership with Jason Jenkins.
Southern Kings coach, Deon Davids, has named a strong side to take on the Jaguares in their encounter at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires early Saturday morning (SA time).In one of several changes to the side that did duty against the Emirates Lions at the end of May, flyhalf Lionel Cronje returns as captain. Loosehead prop Mzamo Majola, a former Junior Springboks forward, gets his first run-on start.
Emirates Lions coach, Johan Ackermann, has named his strongest possible side for the clash against the Sunwolves in Johannesburg. Springbok skipper Warren Whiteley is sidelined with a torn pelvic ligament and flanker Jaco Kriel will captain the side in his absence, while Ruan Ackerman steps into the vacant No 8 position.
Meanwhile, all the players who were on Springbok and SA ‘A’ duty are included in the line-up, while there is also a return on the right wing for Ruan Combrinck. The Joburg side are hunting top spot on the overall log and home ground advantage throughout the play-offs.
Franco Smith, the Toyota Cheetahs coach, made a couple of changes to the team that beat the Sunwolves in Singapore in late May. Skipper Francois Venter returns as outside centre while Tian Meyer starts at scrumhalf. Up front, Elandré Huggett starts at hooker in place of the injured Torsten van Jaarsveld. Reniel Hugo is fit again and picked at lock. Niell Jordaan slots in at No 8.
Springbok prop Frans Malherbe will captain the Cape side because regular skipper Siya Kolisi and vice-captain Eben Etzebeth are both being rested. Springbok wing Dilly Leyds was named as vice-captain. Chris van Zyl takes Etzebeth’s place next to Pieter-Steph du Toit in the second row, while Rynhardt Elstadt also returns from injury to team up with Kobus van Dyk and Nizaam Carr in the loose trio.
Meanwhile, Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff will make his first appearance for the Cape team since 2015 if called upon, having re-joined the side from French club Bordeaux.
Experienced scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will have 19-year-old flyhalf Damian Willemse as his halfback partner. The teenager recently returned from Junior Springboks duty in Georgia and will make his debut start.
Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls
Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Lubabalo Mtembu, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Marius Louw.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Kefentse Mahlo, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten , 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 RG Snyman , 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka , 18 Johnroy Jenkins, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Renaldo Bothma, 21 Andre Warner , 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Tian Schoeman.
Date: Friday, June 30;
SA time: 19h00;
Venue: Growthpoint King Park, Durban;
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia);
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa);
Television Match Official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa).
Southern Kings v Jaguares
Southern Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 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 Michael Willemse, 1 Mzamo Majola. Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Masixole Banda, 23 Yaw Penxe.
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Lucas Noguera. Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Santiago Cordero.
Date: Saturday, 1 July;
SA time: 01h05;
Venue: Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires;
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand);
Assistant Referees: Pali Deluca (Argentina), Damian Schneider (Argentina);
Television match official: Santiago Borsani (Argentina).
Toyota Cheetahs v DHL Stormers
Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Elandré Huggett, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Ruan van Rensburg, 23 William Small-Smith.
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Dillyn Leyds (vice-captain), 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Rynardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe (captain), 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 EW Viljoen, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
Date: Saturday, July 1;
SA time: 15h05;
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein;
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa);
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa);
Television match official: Willie Vos (South Africa).
Emirates Lions v Sunwolves
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.
Date: Saturday, July 1;
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg;
SA time: 17h15;
Referee: Egon Seconds (South Africa);
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Archie Sehlako (South Africa);
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa).