· Five SA franchise teams involved in overseas matches this weekend
· Southern Kings clash with Jaguares on maiden Argentine visit
The two leading teams on the Africa conference standings, the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions, will be eyeing home wins this weekend, while the rest of the South African franchises are all playing away matches in Round 10 of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
For the first time in Vodacom Super Rugby history, six SA teams will be in action this weekend against overseas foes in a single round. This weekend’s action sees no less than five South African franchise teams playing overseas.
On Friday morning (SA time) the Cell C Sharks continue their tour of New Zealand against the Chiefs in New Plymouth, with the two teams getting this weekend’s action underway in another exciting round of fixtures.The Vodacom Bulls start their overseas leg of the competition in Perth where they face the Force in the second Friday fixture. The Southern Kings travel to Argentina for their late Saturday night clash with the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Southern Kings coach, Deon Davids, has named a travelling squad of 25 players and according to him the starting team and reserves will be named on Friday, after their arrival in Buenos Aires, which means that two players will drop out to form the 23-man match day squad.
The remaining South African teams, the Emirates Lions and the DHL Stormers, meanwhile, are both playing in home fixtures. In Johannesburg, the Emirates Lions host the Hurricanes in a fixture that kicks off at 17h05, while the DHL Stormers welcome the Waratahs in the late fixture which starts at 19h15.
Elsewhere, the Blues return from their rest weekend with a home clash in Auckland against the Rebels in the first match on Saturday morning (SA time). The next match then features the Highlanders at home in Invercargill against the visiting Brumbies.
The Crusaders and Sunwolves, meanwhile, have byes this weekend.
Vodacom Super Rugby information:
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Chiefs vs Cell C Sharks
Date: Friday, 29 April
SA Time: 09h35
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown, Angus Mabey
Television match official: Glenn Newman
· Following their narrow and morale-boosting 15-14 victory over the Highlanders last week, the Cell C Sharks made wholesale changes for Friday’s clash in New Plymouth.
· Cobus Reinach is out injured, which opens the door for Michael Claassens to get a start at No 9, with the recently added Stefan Ungerer named on the bench. If he comes off the bench, Ungerer will make his first appearance in Vodacom Super Rugby 2016.
· Springbok JP Pietersen moves to the wing after playing in the midfield against the Highlanders and Odwa Ndungane now starts on the bench. Paul Jordaan comes into the starting XV at outside centre. And with Philip van der Walt having returned home from tour, Daniel du Preez regains the No.8 jersey.
· The Cell C Sharks also have a new front row with Dale Chadwick replacing Tendai Mtawarira, Franco Marais makes way for Kyle Cooper and Lourens Adriaanse and Coenie Oosthuizen swap places. Keegan Daniel takes over the captaincy from Mtawarira – the 60th time he will do so.
· Chiefs coach Dave Rennie made five changes to his starting team which defeated the Hurricanes in a one-point thriller last Saturday. Dominic Bird returns from injury to partner Brodie Retallick at lock.
· Taleni Seu is promoted from the replacements bench to wear the No.6 jersey, alongside co-captain Sam Cane and No.8 Michael Leitch.
· Among the backs Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury to start at inside centre. He is joined in the midfield by Taranaki’s Seta Tamanivalu. Brad Weber starts at scrumhalf, with support from co-captain Aaron Cruden at flyhalf.
· The Chiefs have won five of their last six matches against the Cell C Sharks, though a one-point Sharks win in their last encounter snapped a five-game losing streak in the fixture for the South African team.
· Only once in the last seven fixtures between these teams has the final points margin been more than eight (37-6 Chiefs win in 2012 the Vodacom Super Rugby Final).
· The Chiefs have won their last three home matches against the Durban-side and haven’t lost this exact fixture since Round 3, 2009.
· The Chiefs’ only loss from eight matches so far this season came when they last hosted a South African team (Emirates Lions, Round 2).
· Six of the Cell C Sharks’ last seven matches have been decided by no more than an unconverted try with a one-point win in their last game snapping a three-game losing streak.
· If he comes off the bench, Stefan Ungerer will make his first appearance for the Cell C Sharks in Vodacom Super Rugby 2016.
Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold: “We face another big challenge in the Chiefs this Friday, they’re top of the table and enjoyed a memorable win last week. They’re playing fantastic rugby and are comfortably the best team in New Zealand at the moment so we know we have our work cut out.”
Sharks: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick. Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Joe Pietersen, 23 Odwa Ndungane.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sam McNicol, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Kane Hames, 19 James Tucker, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Force vs Vodacom Bulls
Date: Friday, 29 April
SA Time: 13h05
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman, Damien Mitchelmore
Television match official: Ian Smith
Team News (Vodacom Bulls)
· Former Junior Springbok captain Hanro Liebenberg comes into the starting line-up as one of two changes to the run-on team that played against the Reds at Loftus Versfeld two weeks ago. The No.8 takes over from Arno Botha, and at scrumhalf Piet van Zyl will start, with Rudy Paige moving to the bench.
· There are several tweaks to the bench. Bandise Maku, Dries Swanepoel and Roelof Smith will replace Jaco Visagie, Dan Kriel and Deon Stegmann respectively.
· Wing Jamba Ulengo returned to South Africa for personal reasons, with Bjorn Basson replacing him.
· The Force, meanwhile, made seven changes to their side for the clash against the side from Pretoria.
· The Vodacom Bulls have won four of their last six matches against the Force and have never lost to the Western Australian team by more than six points.
· In their last eight matches at home against South African opposition the Force have not conceded more than 10 points in the opening half of a game.
· The Pretoria-side have won their last four matches in a row, a fifth straight win would be their longest streak since a run of nine wins saw them reach the 2013 post-season.
· The Western Force have been the most accurate goal kicking team in the competition at 94%, more than 20% more accurate than the Vodacom Bulls (73%).
· The Vodacom Bulls have conceded only seven clean breaks per game so far this season, the fewest of any team, while the Force have conceded more than double (14.8), the most by a team.
Vodacom Bulls coach, Nollis Marais: “We are, in a way, still under the radar and that is a good thing I believe. We are slowly starting to put a proper match together and improving as a unit, no doubt. A coach cannot ask for more than that. We had soft moments and patches in a couple of matches, but overall, we are starting to find rhythm and some fluency in our game.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss: “Yes, they do have a good record against us here, but that is not something that we see as an important issue. A lot of our guys are first time tourists with the team and just want to go out and enjoy playing for the Bulls. We have ambitions in how we want to approach the game and execute our game plan, but know very well that the Force will not make it easy for us. We will have to work very hard for a win, but this team is prepared to do that.”
Vodacom Bulls: 15 SP Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ammon Matuauto, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Ian Prior, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sitiveni Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Francois van Wyk. Replacements: 16 Chris Heiberg, 17 Anaru Rangi, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Reds vs Toyota Cheetahs
Date: Saturday, 30 April
SA Time: 11h45
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Will Houston, Nic Berry
Television match official: George Ayoub
· Toyota Cheetahs flyhalf Fred Zeilinga replaces Niel Marias, who started in the 14-36 loss to the Melbourne Rebels last week.
· In other changes to team, No.4 lock Carl Wegner is back in the starting line-up and Francois Uys on the bench. Springbok Lood de Jager moves to No.5 lock.
· Paul Schoeman shifts from No.8 to openside flank in the place of Hilton Lobberts who returned home because of a shoulder injury he picked up last weekend against the Rebels.
· The move of Schoeman to the side of the scrum means an opening for Henco Venter, who will be wearing the No.8 jersey.
· Johan Coetzee and Michael van der Spuy are new on the bench with Danie Mienie also returning home with a shoulder injury.
· The Queensland outfit named an unchanged side for their match against the Free State side.
· The Reds have won five of their last six matches against the Bloemfontein outfit, outscoring the South African side by 70 points across that span.
· The Toyota Cheetahs have won just one of their last six matches in Australia, and they’ve never beaten the Reds there.
· The Reds have scored just one try in the final 20 minutes of their games this season, fewer than any other side.
· Torsten van Jaarsveld has won 91 throws so far this season, the most of any player (success rate of 86%).
· The Reds have a scrum success of 95% so far this season, the best by any team.
Reds co-interim head coach Nick Stiles: “The Cheetahs are a good side and we’ve had some close matches with them in recent years. The group’s sole focus this week has been on preparing well to deliver a performance we, and our fans, can proud of.”
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Junior Laloifi, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain). Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.
Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (captain), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Oupa Mohoje, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy.
Emirates Lions vs Hurricanes
Date: Saturday, 30 April
SA Time: 17h00
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, Ben Crouse
Television match official: Johan Greeff
· The Emirates Lions made two changes to their starting team for Saturday’s match against the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park.
· Young prop Pieter Scholtz has been drafted into the side as a replacement for the injured Ruan Dreyer, who fractured his wrist last week against the Kings and will now sidelined for up to six months.
· Regular hooker Malcolm Marx (neck trouble) did not pass a late fitness test and Armand van der Merwe will therefore start, with Ramone Samuels on the bench.
· The Lions are also still without hooker Robbie Coetzee, who underwent knee surgery late last month to repair damaged cartilage.
· The Hurricanes have won eight of their nine meetings with the Emirates Lions – a defeat in 2007 being the only blemish in this run.
· In each of the Johannesburg side’s last 12 games, the half-time results has mirrored the full-time result, including a 19-all draw with the Stormers in Round 17 last season.
· The last time the Hurricanes lost a game to a South African team was a one-point loss to the DHL Stormers in Round 3, 2014.
· The Hurricanes have lost fewer than one lineout per game so far this season, no team averages fewer, and their lineout success of 93% is the best in the competition.
· The Emirates Lions are the only team in the competition yet to concede a try from opposition possession originating from a scrum.
Emirates Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Dylan Smith. Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 John-Wessel Bell, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
DHL Stormers vs Waratahs
Date: Saturday, 30 April
SA Time: 19h15
Venue: DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Cwengile Jadezweni
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman
· The DHL Stormers announced four changes to their run-on team for the match on Saturday against the Waratahs at DHL Newlands.
· Springbok centre and co-captain Juan de Jongh returns from his bout of delayed concussion to partner fellow Springbok Damian de Allende in the midfield. It will be the first time this season that the two are pairing in midfield, following De Allende’s lengthy time on the sideline due to an ankle injury sustained while playing club rugby in Japan.
· De Jongh moves to the No.13 jersey after he played most of this year as an inside centre.
· Prop Frans Malherbe is also back in the starting mix after he missed last week’s win over the Reds because of flu. He replaces Vincent Koch, who is now amongst the reserves.
· Meanwhile Schalk Burger returns to the side at No.8, while JC Janse van Rensburg will join Malherbe in returning to the starting front row. And according to the Fleck, flu played a role in Siya Kolisi playing off the bench this week.
· The return of De Jongh to the starting team sees Johnny Kotze drop out of the match day squad.
· The Waratahs made just one change to their starting side with stalwart Dean Mumm moving into the No.6 jersey and Sam Lousi to the bench. Jack Dempsey has a shoulder injury.
· Skipper Dave Dennis will run out for his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match this week, having played one extra game for the Waratahs against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
· The Cape side have won four of their last six matches against the Waratahs including a 32-18 victory in their last encounter.
· Only one of the Waratahs’ last five matches against South African opposition has been decided by a points difference of fewer than two converted tries.
· The DHL Stormers have won 16 and drawn one of their last 21 matches on home soil against Australian opposition in Vodacom Super Rugby.
· The Stormers have the best opening quarter points differential, scoring 45 points more than they’ve conceded in the opening 20 minutes of games so far this season.
· Kurtley Beale has made 2.2 offloads per game so far this season, the second most of any player in the competition behind SP Marais (3.7).
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck: “This midfield combination is the one we would have thought about as our first choice centre pairing at the start of the season so it is good to see Juan and Damian finally playing together. Johnny (Kotze) did well for us while Damian and then Juan were absent, but now that those two are back, I am very happy.
“With one or two exceptions, we are now moving towards a full-strength side again after we had a few players out with injuries for much of the year. Heading towards full strength excites me and we are getting a good idea of the 23 we will move forward with.”
DHL Stormers: Cheslin Kolbe, Kobus van Wyk, Juan de Jongh (co-captain), Damian de Allende, Leolin Zas, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Nic Groom, Schalk Burger, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nizaam Carr, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Frans Malherbe (co-captain), Bongi Mbonambi, JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Oli Kebble, Vincent Koch, JD Schickerling, Siya Kolisi, Louis Schreuder, Brandon Thomson, Huw Jones.
Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Hugh Roach, 1 Paddy Ryan. Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro.
Jaguares vs Southern Kings
Date: Saturday, 30 April
SA Time: 23h40
Venue: Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi, Juan Sylvestre
Television match official: Santiago Borsani
· Flyhalf Elgar Watts is among a group of players that has been added to the Southern Kings squad for the visit to Buenos Aires and Saturday night’s match against the Jaguares. Watts has been sidelined since suffering an injury against the Sunwolves in Port Elizabeth a couple of weeks back. He has now recovered from his injury problems.
· Front-row forwards Edgar Marutlulle and Sti Sithole, both of whom join Watts in the 25-man group to fly to Argentina, also return following their injury spells.
· Also back in the selection mix is Stefan Willemse, who has played at both flank and lock, and who did not play against the Emirates Lions. Meanwhile, versatile back Jaco van Tonder has replaced the injured Malcolm Jaer, who is out for six weeks with a broken hand.
· With Jaer injured and Jurgen Visser not selected for the one-match tour, it looks like Van Tonder will get his get his first start at fullback.
· The Jaguares’ solitary Vodacom Super Rugby win so far came against a South African side in Round 1 (Toyota Cheetahs). In their other two games against South African teams they have kept them to fewer than 20 points (L2).
· The Kings have conceded an average of 47.3 points per game in their last six matches against teams from outside of South Africa.
· The Kings have scored 64.3% (9/14) of their tries in the first half, the highest percentage of any team in the competition.
· Guido Petti Pagadizaval has won 37 lineouts so far this season, the equal second of any player though he is yet to steal one.
Southern Kings coach, Deon Davids: “At fullback we have Jaco van Tonder, who we know can play at 15 and hasn’t had a chance there yet this year, and Leighton Eksteen, who can come in as a back-up. We felt that at this point we wanted to give Jaco a chance to see how he is doing.”
Southern Kings 25-man tour squad: Schalk Ferreira, Jacobus Adriaanse, Sti Sithole, Tom Botha, Justin Ackerman, Edgar Marutlulle, Martin Bezuidenhout, Martin Ferreira, Steven Sykes, JC Astle, Elgar Watts, Chris Cloete, CJ Velleman, Thembelani Bholi, Louis Fouche, Ntando Kebe, Leighton Eksteen, Stefan Willemse, Shane Gates, Stefan Watermeyer, Aidon Davis, Luzuko Vulindlu, Jaco van Tonder, James Hall, Lukhanyo Am.
Other Round 10 fixtures (with SA kick-off times, live on SS1):
Saturday, 30 April
07h15: Blues vs Rebels – Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
09h35: Highlanders vs Brumbies – Rugby Park, Invercargill, New Zealand