Cape Town - The North v South derbies
remain some the most anticipated clashes on the local Super Rugby calendar and
the late Saturday clash between the Bulls and the visiting Stormers will be no
The Stormers will be well aware of past
visits to Loftus Versfeld and the stranglehold the Bulls have on them at this
venue. The home side has lost only one of their last 19 matches at home and in
2014 they were unbeaten in Pretoria. The Stormers lost seven of eight away games
last year and lost their opening matches in 2013 and 2014.
That said, the visitors will be boosted by
the fact that they won last year's Currie Cup in exciting fashion, playing a
different kind of rugby than in Super Rugby, where they only scored 18.1 points
per match, the lowest in the competition.
The Stormers will back their defence to
keep their tryline in tact and they could well succeed in doing so if the Bulls
do not cure their try-scoring blues. The home side only averaged 1.8 tries per
match in 2014, fewer than any other team.
Victor Matfield, the most experienced South
African in the competition (138 matches) and most experienced captain ever
(82), will be looking at forcing the visitors into a forward-dominated game.
The Bulls had the best lineout rate in 2014
(91%) and the Stormers just 78%, so they will look to dominate that phase
The visitors also face another potential
obstacle in flyhalf Handre Pollard, who kicked 26 out of 28 shots (93%) at goal
last year, the best rate of the season.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke included all three
off-season recruits, former Cheetahs hooker, Adriaan Strauss, prop Trevor
Nyakane and flank Lappies Labuschagne in the starting line-up. Ludeke also
included Arno Botha at No 8, the first time the loose forward will play Super
Rugby since June 1, 2013.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee named three
Springboks and six Stormers debutants in their match-day squad. Wings Johnny
Kotze and Dillyn Leyds and also tighthead prop Vincent Koch are the new faces
in the run-on side, with the new faces on the bench being Bongi Mbonambi
(former Bulls hooker), tighthead prop Wilco Louw and outside back Huw Jones.
New skipper Duane Vermeulen will lead the
team from the No 8 position in a match which Coetzee has described as a
"tough assignment" and a "great challenge".
"We're looking forward to getting our
campaign underway after a good pre-season and, as everyone knows, there's no
greater challenge than facing the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld - be it your first
game or your last game of the season. It is (a tough assignment), but it's been
Kick-off for Saturday's clash is scheduled for 19:10.
15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ
Engelbrecht, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Francois Hougaard, 10. Handre Pollard, 9.
Piet van Zyl, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Deon Stegmann, 5.
Victor Matfield (captain), 4. Jacques du Plessis, 3. Werner Kruger, 2. Adriaan
Strauss, 1. Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16. Callie Visagie, 17. Morne
Mellet, 18. Dayan vd Westhuizen/Neethling Fouche, 19. Grant Hattingh, 20.
Pierre Spies, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23. Jesse Kriel
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Johnny Kotze, 13.
Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Demetri Catrakilis,
9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Rynhardt
Elstadt, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Vincent Koch, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1.
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli
Kebble, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Louis
Schreuder, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Huw Jones