MyPlayers takes a look at the all the South African Super Rugby team news and facts ahead of the sixth round of Super Rugby.
Two crunching local derbies are on the menu on Saturday as part of a shorter than usual Vodacom Super Rugby fixture list. The DHL Stormers face the Toyota Cheetahs in Cape Town (15h05), while the resurgent Cell C Sharks travel to Johannesburg for their encounter with the Emirates Lions (17h15).
The Vodacom Bulls are in action on Saturday when they face the unbeaten Chiefs in Hamilton, where the kick-off is scheduled for 08h35 (SA time), while the Southern Kings have a bye, along with the Brumbies, Jaguares, and Sunwolves, meaning only seven matches are scheduled for the sixth round.
Arno Botha will make his first appearance of the season for the Vodacom Bulls in Hamilton, a venue where the men from Pretoria last won in 2010. Botha comes in for injured Hanro Liebenberg at No 8 as part of a couple of rotational changes announced by coach, Nollis Marais.
Meanwhile, Vodacom Bulls skipper Adriaan Strauss will extend his record as the most capped South African hooker in the tournament when he runs out in his 135th match.
In Cape Town, promising and versatile 19-year old flank Cobus Wiese will make his first start for the DHL Stormers in their home match against the visitors from Bloemfontein. The young loose forward came off the bench to make his debut in the 44-31 win over the Sunwolves last weekend and earns a starting berth in place of injured Rynhardt Elstadt.
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck also named fit-again Cheslin Kolbe on the right wing, while the Springbok lock pairing of Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit as well as prop Frans Malherbe are all back in the side after being rested last weekend.
Good news for the Toyota Cheetahs is that their captain, Francois Venter, has been cleared and will lead the side from the midfield after struggling with a hamstring niggle earlier in the week. Wing Sergeal Petersen also overcame his knee and hamstring problems and will start at wing in place of JW Jonker.
Former Junior Bok wing Luther Obi, recently recruited from Pretoria, was named on the bench and will make his competition debut should he go on as replacement for the Toyota Cheetahs, who are looking for their first victory in the Mother City since 2006.
In the final match of the weekend from a South African perspective, Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach will make his 50th appearance for the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg.
Springbok Lionel Mapoe will not feature for the Emirates Lions against the Cell C Sharks because of a troublesome hand injury. Mapoe was earlier this week bracketed with Dillon Smit on the bench but has failed to recover in time.
Otherwise, the Emirates Lions’ starting team from last weekend’s victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth will run out again this weekend against the visitors from Durban.
The Durbanites, however, will be without Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, who was not considered for selection this week due to the death of his grandmother. He has been replaced at loosehead prop by Thomas du Toit.
Other interesting team news is the inclusion of No 8 Dan du Preez alongside his twin brother, flanker Jean-Luc. Garth April gets the nod at fullback while Curwin Bosch continues as flyhalf in place of the injured Pat Lambie in what will be a tough challenge for the Cell C Sharks, as the Emirates Lions have not lost at home in 11 months.
Vodacom Super Rugby Resources:
2017 MEDIA GUIDE | MATCH PACKS| MATCH CENTRE
Chiefs v Vodacom Bulls
Chiefs: 15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Johnny Faauli, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Michael Leitch, 7. Sam Cane (co-captain), 6. Liam Messam, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Dominic Bird, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Hika Elliot, 1. Siegfried Fisi’ihoi. Replacements: 16. Brayden Mitchell, 17. Kane Hames, 18. Atu Moli, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Mitchell Karpik, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Stephen Donald, 23. Solomon Alaimalo.
Vodacom Bulls: 15. Jesse Kriel, 14. Travis Ismaiel, 13. Jan Serfontein, 12. Burger Odendaal, 11. Jamba Ulengo, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Rudy Paige, 8. Arno Botha, 7. Nick de Jager, 6. Ruan Steenkamp, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. RG Snyman, 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Jacobie Adriaanse, 19. Jason Jenkins, 20. Jannes Kirsten, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Tian Schoeman, 23. Warrick Gelant.
Date: Saturday, 1 April
SA Time: 08h35
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Nick Briant (NZ)
Assistant referee: Paul Williams, Cam Stone (NZ)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (NZ)
DHL Stormers v Toyota Cheetahs
DHL Stormers: 15. SP Marais, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. EW Viljoen, 12. Dan du Plessis, 11. Dillyn Leyds, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Siya Kolisi (captain), 6. Cobus Wiese, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16. Ramone Samuels, 17. Caylib Oosthuizen, 18. Oli Kebble, 19. Chris van Zyl, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Dewaldt Duvenage, 22. Kurt Coleman, 23. Dan Kriel.
Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Clayton Blommetjies, 14. Sergeal Petersen, 13. Francois Venter (captain), 12. Niel Marais, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Henco Venter, 7. Oupa Mohoje, 6. Paul Schoeman, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Armandt Koster, 3. Johan Coetzee, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1. Charles Marais. Replacements: 16. Elandre Huggett, 17. Ox Nche, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Carl Wegner, 20. Niell Jordaan.
Date: Saturday, 1 April
SA Time: 15h05
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (SA)
Assistant referee: Quinton Immelman, Cwengile Jadezweni (SA)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (SA)
Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks
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. Corne Fourie, 18. Hencus van Wyk, 19. Lourens Erasmus, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Jacques Nel, 23. Dillon Smit.
Cell C Sharks: 15. Garth April, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Tera Mtembu (captain), 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1. Thomas du Toit. Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20. Jacques Vermeulen, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Inny Radebe, 23. Jeremy Ward.
Date: Saturday, 1 April
SA Time: 17h15
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (SA)
Assistant referee: Jaco Peyper, AJ Jacobs (SA)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (SA)
Other Round 6 matches (all SA times and live on SS1):
Friday 31 March
08h35: Highlanders v Rebels, Dunedin
Saturday 1 April
06h15: Blues v Force, Auckland
10h45: Reds v Hurricanes, Brisbane
Sunday 2 April
08h05: Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney
Bye: Brumbies, Jaguares, Southern Kings, Sunwolves