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    Spotlight on Stormers, Bulls as SA sides start Super Rugby charge

    2019-02-16 08:37

    Cape Town - The Bulls and the Stormers will take centre stage from a South African perspective when the country's Super Rugby journey kicks off on Saturday evening.

    While the Bulls are starting a new era under the leadership of coach Pote Human, the Stormers are under their own pressures to make a play deep into the tournament with coach Robbie Fleck entering the final year of his contract at Newlands. 

    The signings of Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits have been highly-publicised for the Bulls, who will field 10 Springboks on Saturday, but the Stormers also have a strong squad on paper and they are backing themselves to get the job done in one of South Africa's most highly-anticipated derbies. 

    "It's the Bulls at Loftus and there is no bigger game for Stormers fans and players," Fleck said in the week.

    "We're starting off with one of the tougher ones away. They have quality in their side and some experience now which I feel they didn't have last year.

    "With the likes of Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits, that will help the younger players in the group."

    Fleck is also expecting the Bulls under Human to have a more traditional feel to them after previous coaches Nollis Marais and John Mitchell prioritised running rugby.

    "Pote has got some old school Bulls values and I think he treasures the set piece and the maul and I think he still encourages a good kicking game," Fleck explained.

    "I think the traditional side of the Bulls is still there but what they gained from last year with Mitch taking over they got an extra dynamic in their attacking play.

    "That was quite evident in the way they played against us in the Currie Cup. I think Pote has brought a nice balance to their game and I think that suits their players."

    The Sharks, meanwhile, are in Singapore for their tournament opener against the Sunwolves while the Lions will take on the Jaguares in Argentina. 

    SA fixtures on Saturday:

    12:55 - Sunwolves v Sharks

    17:15 - Bulls v Stormers

    23:40 - Jaguares v Lions

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 23 March 2019
    • Hurricanes v Stormers, Westpac Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney Cricket Ground 10:45
    • Sunwolves v Lions, Singapore National Stadium 12:55
    • Bulls v Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld 15:05
    • Sharks v Rebels, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15
    Sunday, 24 March 2019
    • Reds v Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium 07:05
    Friday, 29 March 2019
    • Hurricanes v Crusaders, Westpac Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Sunwolves, McDonald Jones Stadium 10:45

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    • Sharks (wc)
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