Stormers aim for clean sweep
Cape Town - The Vodacom Stormers could become the first South African franchise to complete a clean sweep of victories over New Zealand opposition in the Super 14 series when they host the Crusaders at Newlands on Friday at 19:10.
This year, the Cape team have defeated the Hurricanes (37-13) and the Highlanders (33-0) at Newlands earlier in the competition. Recently they recorded away wins over the Chiefs (49-15) in Hamilton and the Blues (33-21) in Auckland.
Last year the Sharks won four out of five matches against Kiwi opposition, going down to the Crusaders, while the Bulls suffered two defeats against the Highlanders and the Crusaders in the league phase of the 2009 competition.
The Stormers also recorded a four out of five record against New Zealand opposition back in 2000 when the Crusaders triumphed 47-31 in Nelson.
Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn is 23 points away from becoming the fastest player to reach 200 points in a single season of Super Rugby. The record is currently held by Crusaders pivot Dan Carter, who scored 200 points in 12 games back in 2004.
Steyn has played in all 10 games for the defending champions this year. He has already rewritten the record books this season by becoming South Africa's leading points' scorer in Super Rugby when he passed Andre Pretorius' feat of 645 points during his side's 51-11 victory over the Lions in Pretoria last Saturday.
The Bulls pivot will have that chance when his side host the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday at 7.10pm. The Pretoria outfit are currently in pole position on the Super 14 log, but must defeat the Sharks to keep their aspirations of a home semi-final alive.
Three teams - Vodacom Stormers, Crusaders and the Reds - are locked on 34 points and are one bonus-point win away from the Bulls (39). The fifth placed Waratahs (33), who take on the Highlanders in Invercargill, are six points behind the defending champions.
While South African focus this weekend will be directed to Loftus Versfeld and Newlands, the Reds and the Brumbies are also still in the race for a place in the playoffs and will have the chance to strengthen their odyssey for a place in the 2010 semi-finals when they meet at the Canberra Stadium on Saturday at 11:40.
Meanwhile the Cheetahs will also be aiming to re-write their own record books when they host the Blues at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein on Saturday at 15:00.
The hosts have never defeated the Blues in Super Rugby and will fancy their chances of upsetting their Auckland tourists this weekend.
In Johannesburg the Lions are still searching for their first win this season. They host the Western Force at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday at 17:05.