The Emirates Lions will welcome back stalwart, Springbok winger Ruan Combrinck, for their important Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the DHL Stormers on Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg. The game at Emirates Airline Park kicks off at 17h15.
On Friday morning an unchanged Cell C Sharks side faces the in-form Hurricanes in Napier in the final fixture on their overseas tour, where they will be eager to build on last week’s excellent win over the Blues in Auckland.
The Vodacom Bulls have a bye this weekend, and in the remaining South African Conference game, the Jaguares host the Crusaders in Buenos Aires on Saturday evening.
The Emirates Lions welcome back the hard-running Combrinck following his recovery from the shoulder injury he suffered a few months ago in Japan. His return is one of two changes in the Highveld team’s line-up against their Cape Town rivals.
Combrinck replaces Sylvian Mahuza on the right wing, while the other change sees the return of lock Marvin Orie to the starting line-up in a rotational switch with Andries Ferreira.
Swys de Bruin’s team, who will enter the match with the comfort of knowing that they have a bye next week before their Australasian tour, will be determined to bounce back to winning ways after losing their 2017 final rematch against the Crusaders last Sunday. The Cape side, meanwhile, travels to Gauteng for the second week in a row, where they will seek their first away-win this season.
The DHL Stormers made several injury-enforced changes to their starting line-up. Injuries to scrumhalf Justin Phillips (rib) and flanker Cobus Wiese (hamstring) saw Jano Vermaak – in what will be his first start of the season – and Chris van Zyl being drafted in. Van Zyl slots in the second row alongside Jan de Klerk, with Pieter-Steph du Toit moving to the flank.
The Emirates Lions have won their last 17 South African derbies, with their last home defeat against South African opposition being in February 2015 against the Cape side.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks coach Robert du Preez reckons his side must focus on improving their accuracy and defence against the in-form Hurricanes in Wellington. “We know it will be much tougher against the Hurricanes, who are the best team in New Zealand at this point.”
Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin is delighted with the timely return of Combrinck: “I am very excited about Ruan. After almost a year he is back, and he has trained very hard. We have won four and lost three, so it is one of those games in which we need to go for maximum points at home.”
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said his team will give everything at Emirates Airline Park.
“This match is a great opportunity for us as a team and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
HURRICANES VS CELL C SHARKS
Head to head:
Hurricanes won: 9
Cell C Sharks won: 11
Drawn matches: 1
Hurricanes points: 549
Cell C Sharks: 532
Average score: 25-26
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves. Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.
Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Date: Friday, 6 April
SA time: 08h35
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill and Angus Mabey
Television match official: Aaron Paterson
TV: SuperSport 1
EMIRATES LIONS VS DHL STORMERS
Head to head:
Emirates Lions won: 3
DHL Stormers won: 11
Drawn matches: 1
Emirates points: 279
DHL Stormers points: 370
Average score: 19-25
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.
DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Craig Barry.
Date: Saturday, 7 April
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and AJ Jacobs
Television match official: Willie Vos
TV: SuperSport 1
In other Round 8 action this weekend:
Saturday, 7 April
07h15 Sunwolves vs Waratahs, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
09h35 Chiefs vs Blues, FMG Stadium, Waikato
11h45 Brumbies vs Reds, GIO Stadium, Canberra
23h40 Jaguares vs Crusaders, Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Byes: Vodacom Bulls, Rebels, Highlanders
Vodacom Super Rugby Resources: