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The two South African Vodacom Super Rugby sides in action on local soil this weekend will have the same goal in mind, but are approaching their fourth round matches differently.

The Cell C Sharks host the Sunwolves at 15h05 in Durban and are looking for their first win of the season, while the Emirates Lions will be aiming to build on their three wins so far when they host the Blues at 17h15 in Johannesburg.

The DHL Stormers kick off the weekend’s action at 08h35 on Friday morning (SA time) with their final Australasian tour fixture, against the Highlanders in Dunedin, while the Vodacom Bulls begin their overseas commitments against the Reds the next morning in Brisbane.

In the remaining SA Conference fixture, the Jaguares welcome the Waratahs to Buenos Aires (23h40on Saturday.

Robbie Fleck’s DHL Stormers have been severely hit by injuries, with promising lock JD Schickerling the latest long-term casualty, while versatile Cobus Wiese is nursing a shoulder injury.

Former SA Schools star forward Salmaan Moerat (lock) has been named on the bench for the Dunedin clash, with the youngster set to make his competition debut should he get some action. The Cape side made five changes to their starting fifteen and four more amongst the replacements.

Springbok Handré Pollard, who last week played No 12, is back at flyhalf for the Vodacom Bulls, who start their Australasian leg with a visit to the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday. Johnny Kotze comes into the inside centre berth as a result of the decision to move Pollard to No 10.Pollard played inside centre last Saturday against the Emirates Lions in Pretoria because of the late withdrawal of Burger Odendaal. Warrick Gelant, who came off the bench, returns to the starting line-up as No 15 in place of Divan Rossouw.

Following an away loss to the Emirates Lions and a home draw against the Waratahs, the Cell C Sharks will be eager to register their first win of the season when they host the Sunwolves at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban.

Young Springbok Curwin Bosch has been picked at fullback for his first start of the season while the experienced Lwazi Mvovo shifts to the bench. Amongst the forwards, flanker Wian Vosloo is picked to wear the No 6 jersey in what will be his Vodacom Super Rugby debut match.

Experienced Springbok front rower Tendai Mtawarira is set to make his 138th Vodacom Super Rugby appearance for the Durban side, which will see him take over from JP Pietersen as the player with the most Cell C Sharks caps in history.

Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin selected an unchanged starting fifteen for their clash with the Blues, but made some changes on the bench, where loose forwards Kwagga Smith and Hacjivah Dayimani return together with Ashlon Davids, while reserve scrumhalf Marco Jansen van Vuren drops out of the match-day 23.

The Highveld team have hit form from the outset and are leading the SA Conference and overall tournament logs with 14 points from their three games. They are also in prolific try-scoring mode and have notched up the most tries scored so far, 18 in total, four more than the Crusaders.

What they said:

DHL Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck said that his team will be going all-out to end their tour on a high: “We have had some brave performances on this tour and the players are looking forward to the challenge in Dunedin against the Highlanders.”

Vodacom Bulls head coach John Mitchell mentioned his team still have a long way to go but he is pleased with the fundamentals in place at this stage of the competition: “We have not played in Brisbane since 2013, so it will be a new experience for most of the team. That should create some energy, but I have no doubt that the importance of a good start to our tour will also perk up the players.”

Experienced Cell C Sharks utility back Lwazi Mvovo said the Cell C Sharks won’t underestimate the Sunwolves: “They play a pretty expansive game and last year we had to dig in and play right to the end when we scored a few points in the last 15 minutes. They are a very good side, especially with the New Zealand influence in their coaching team.”



Head to head:

Played: 19

Highlanders won: 10

DHL Stormers won: 8

Drawn matches: 1

Highlanders points:  438

DHL Stormers points: 415

Average score: 25-22


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit / George Whitehead, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.

Match information:

Date: Friday, 9 March

SA time: 08h35

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)

Assistant referees: Paul Williams (NZ), Angus Mabey (NZ),

Television match official: Glenn Newman (NZ)

TV: SuperSport 1



Head to head:

Played: 18

Reds won: 10

Vodacom Bulls won: 8

Reds points: 415

Vodacom Bulls points: 519

Average score: 23-29


Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (captain). Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Duncan Paia’aua.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Divan Rossouw.

Match information:

Date: Saturday, 24 February

SA time: 10h45

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (NZ)

Assistant referees: Will Houston (Aus), Graham Cooper (Aus)

Television match official: Damien Mitchelmore (Aus)

TV: SuperSport 1



Head to head:

Played: 2

Cell C Sharks won: 2

Sunwolves won: 0

Cell C Sharks points: 78

Sunwolves points: 46

Average score: 39-23


Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain) 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements:  16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo. 

Sunwolves: TBA

Match information:

Date: Saturday, 10 March

SA time: 15h05

Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Arg)

Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (SA), Archie Sehlako (SA)

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (SA)

TV: SuperSport 1



Head to head:

Played: 18

Emirates Lions won: 6

Blues won: 12

Emirates Lions points: 377

Blues points: 565

Average score: 21-31


Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Ashlon Davids, 23 Harold Vorster.

Blues: TBA
Match information:

Date: Saturday, 10 March

SA time: 17h15

Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

Referee: Nic Berry (Aus)

Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (SA), Jaco Pretorius (SA)

Television match official: Willie Vos (SA)

TV: SuperSport 1

Other Round 4 matches:
Friday, 9 March:

10h45: Rebels v Brumbies, AAMI Park, Melbourne

Saturday, 10 March:

08h35: Hurricanes v Crusaders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

23h40: Jaguares v Waratahs, Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires

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