MyPlayers takes a look at all the South African team news and facts ahead of Round Five of Super Rugby this weekend.
Two local derbies will spice up Round Five of the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament this weekend, which will also see matches abroad for the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls.
The Southern Kings host the Emirates Lions in the first of the local derbies in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, while the Toyota Cheetahs take on the Cell C Sharks in Bloemfontein to complete a full weekend of rugby for all six South African franchises. Earlier on Saturday, the Vodacom Bulls take on the Blues in Albany and the DHL Stormers face the Sunwolves in Singapore.
The Toyota Cheetahs welcome back regular skipper Francois Venter and the young Springbok midfielder will also lead his side in their big Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Cell C Sharks, with both sides determined to improve on their performances of last weekend.
Venter returns to the side for the first time this year, having been side-lined with an ankle injury, and the home team also welcome back fit-again wings Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule.
The Jaguares defeated the depleted Toyota Cheetahs last week in Buenos Aires and the Bloem side will be determined to rectify matters, while the Durban side just managed to edge the Southern Kings in their fourth round encounter.
Meanwhile, the coastal side bolstered their ranks with the return of a number of Springboks who were rested last weekend against the Kings. Prop Beast Mtawarira returns to the starting line-up along with fellow Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen in a reshuffled front row while wing Lwazi Mvovo is also back.
Springbok centre Jan Serfontein will make his 50th appearance for the Vodacom Bulls when the Pretoria side tackles the Blues on Saturday morning in their fifth round match in North Harbour, which starts at 08h35 (SA time).
His milestone comes a week after Serfontein had made an immediate impact last weekend in his return to action following his lengthy injury lay-off, when he scored twice against the Sunwolves at Loftus. He moves to inside centre and partners Jesse Kriel in a revamped midfield combination.
In one of several changes to their starting line-up, former Springbok skipper Adriaan Strauss makes his first start of the season in the light blue jersey and the hooker also resumes the captaincy.
Springbok Sevens star and current World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, Seabelo Senatla, earns his first start of the campaign on the left wing for the DHL Stormers in their midday battle with the Sunwolves in Singapore. Starting time is set for 12h55 (SA time).
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has made several changes to the Cape side, which also includes the return of Springbok flank and regular captain, Siya Kolisi, after he was rested for their last outing two weeks ago against the Kings.
Lanky No 8 Warren Whiteley will captain the Emirates Lions for the 50th time when they face the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Whiteley will be playing in his 71st match overall for the Joburg franchise and is their most experienced captain during the last decade, with Cobus “Baywatch” Grobbelaar (28 captaincy appearances) and Josh Strauss (17) next on the list. Johan Ackermann made one change from the side team that thumped the Reds 44-14 last weekend, with Harold Vorster replacing Lionel Mapoe in midfield.
Lionel Cronje, who has been vice-captain of the side from the start of the campaign, will take charge as captain of the Kings in the absence of injured skipper, Schalk Ferreira. The injury to Ferreira gives Schalk van der Merwe a starting opportunity, while coach David Davids also called on hooker Kurt Haupt to start this week ahead of Michael Willemse. Malcolm Jaer makes a return to the team, this week starting at fullback as Masixole Banda is given a break this weekend.
Blues v Vodacom Bulls
Blues: 15. Michael Collins, 14. Matt Duffie, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. George Moala, 11. Melani Nanai, 10. Piers Francis, 9. Augustine Pulu, 8. Jerome Kaino, 7. Blake Gibson, 6. Jimmy Tupou, 5. Patrick Tuipulotu, 4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 2. James Parsons (captain), 1. Pauliasi Manu. Replacements: 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Akira Ioane, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Ihaia West, 23. TJ Faiane.
Vodacom Bulls: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Travis Ismaiel, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Jamba Ulengo, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Hanro Liebenberg, 7. Nick de Jager, 6. Ruan Steenkamp, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Jason Jenkins, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Lizo Gqoboko. Replacements: 16. Jaco Visagie, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18. RG Snyman, 19. Jannes Kirsten, 20. Rudy Paige, 21. Tian Schoeman, 22. Burger Odendaal, 23. John-Roy Jenkinson.
Date: Saturday, 25 March
SA Time: 08h35
Venue: QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Sunwolves v DHL Stormers
Sunwolves: 15. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 14. Shota Emi, 13. Timothy Lafaele, 12. Derek Carpenter, 11. Kenki Fukuoka, 10. Jumpei Ogura, 9. Keisuke Uchida, 8. Willie Britz, 7. Shokei Kin, 6. Ed Quirk (captain), 5. Sam Wykes, 4. Liaki Moli, 3. Heiichiro Ito, 2. Yusuke Niwai, 1. Koki Yamamoto. Replacements: 16. Atsushi Sakate, 17. Masataka Mikami, 18. Takuma Asahara, 19. Uwe Helu, 20. Shumei Matsuhashi, 21. Kaito Shigeno, 22. Hayden Cripps, 23. Ryohei Yamanaka
DHL Stormers: 15. Dillyn Leyds, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Dan Kriel, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Siya Kolisi (captain), 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. JD Shickerling, 4. Chris van Zyl, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. Caylib Oosthuizen, 18. Oli Kebble, 19. Jan de Klerk, 20. Cobus Wiese, 21. Godlen Masimla, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Dan du Plessis.
Date: Saturday, 25 March
SA Time: 12h55
Venue: National Stadium, Singapore
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo, Akihisa Aso (Japan)
Television match official: Minoru Fuji (Japan)
Southern Kings v Emirates Lions
Southern Kings: 15. Malcolm Jaer, 14. Makazole Mapimpi, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Waylon Murray, 11. Alshaun Bock, 10. Lionel Cronje (captain), 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Ruaan Lerm (vice-captain), 7. Andisa Ntsila, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4. Irne Herbst, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2. Kurt Haupt, 1. Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Justin Forwood, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Stefan Willemse, 21. Johan Steyn, 22. Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23. Luzuko Vulindlu.
Emirates Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Madosh Tambwe, 13. Harold Vorster, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Ruan Ackermann, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Sti Sithole, 18. Hencus van Wyk, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Dillon Smit, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Sylvian Mahuza.
Date: Saturday, 25 March
SA Time: 15h05
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Quinton Immelman (SA)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Egon Seconds (SA)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (SA)
Toyota Cheetahs vs Cell C Sharks
Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Francois Venter (captain), 12. Nico Lee, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Henco Venter, 7. Oupa Mohoje, 6. Paul Schoeman, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Justin Basson, 3. Johan Coetzee, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1. Ox Nche. Replacements: 16. Elandre Huggett, 17. Charles Marais, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Carl Wegner, 20. Niell Jordaan, 21. Tian Meyer, 22. Niel Marais, 23. Rayno Benjamin/Clinton Swart.
Cell C Sharks: 15. Clement Poitrenaud, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Jacques Vermeulen, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Stephan Coetzee, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20. Daniel du Preez, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Jeremy Ward, 23. Garth April.
Date: Saturday, 25 March
SA Time: 17h55
Venue: Toyota Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Lourens van der Merwe,
Television match official: Johan Greeff
Other Round 5 fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 24 March:
08h35: Crusaders v Force (Christchurch)
10h45: Rebels v Waratahs (Melbourne)
Saturday, 25 March:
08h35: Blues v Vodacom Bulls (North Harbour)
10h45: Brumbies v Highlanders (Canberra)
21h40: Jaguares v Reds (Buenos Aires)
Bye: Chiefs, Hurricanes