Both the Stormers and the Bulls have kept changes to a minimum ahead of their massive South African derby in Cape Town this weekend.
The Bulls have received a timely boost ahead of their visit with World Cup-winning Springbok Trevor Nyakane named to start alongside fellow Bok prop Lizo Gqoboka in the Bulls in the front row.
Nyakane’s selection is the only change to the starting team, with Wiehahn Herbst shifting to the bench.
Fellow prop Gerhard Steenekamp is set to make his Super Rugby debut if he comes on as a replacement.
Bulls coach Pote Human has opted for a five-forward-three-backs split amongst the replacements, which makes room for utility back Divan Rossouw.
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The Stormers, meanwhile, have made just two changes to their starting side – both due to injuries.
Siyabonga Ntubeni is set to play in the front row in place of Mbongeni Mbonambi – between Springboks Frans Malherbe (playing in his 100th game) and new skipper Steven Kitshoff.
In the back row, Johan du Toit will start at No.8, alongside his brother Pieter-Steph, in place of injured talisman Siya Kolisi.
There are also four changes among the replacements, with Cobus Wiese, Juarno Agustus and Jean-Luc du Plessis returning from injury, while Chad Solomon is set to make his first appearance of the season.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 18, 2020
History does not favour the Bulls in Cape Town, as they last beat the Stormers in the Mother City in 2011.
However, the visitors do take comfort in knowing how to unlock their opponents after last season’s 40-0 drubbing at Loftus Versfeld, which was followed by a narrow one-point loss in the return fixture.
The Stormers will be looking to make it two straight wins at the start of the season, following their 27-0 victory against the Hurricanes.
Finger of blame pointed https://t.co/DMlZUFAIe3
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 5, 2020
Stormers coach John Dobson said that his team is determined to build on their performance last week in what should be a typically fierce South African derby.
“We know there are some areas in which we can make a step up and we are expecting a hugely physical challenge on Saturday, so we cannot afford to lose focus,” the coach said.
“The atmosphere at Newlands last week was incredible and we are looking forward to another opportunity to play in front of our supporters in a big derby, we are determined to make the most of what will be another great opportunity.
“This will be the last North-South Vodacom Super Rugby derby at Newlands, so it will be another piece of history for the rugby-mad people of this region,” he said.
Stormers: Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Jamie Roberts, Seabelo Senatla, Damian Willemse, Herschel Jantjies, Johan du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Coetzee, Chris van Zyl, Salmaan Moerat, Frans Malherbe, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff (c). Reserves: Chad Solomon, Ali Vermaak, Wilco Louw, Cobus Wiese, Ernst van Rhyn, Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Burger Odendaal (c), Rosko Specman, Morné Steyn, Ivan van Zyl, Josh Strauss, Abongile Nonkontwana, Jeandré Rudolph, Juandré Kruger, Andries Ferreira, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka. Reserves: Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenekamp, Wiehahn Herbst, Ruan Nortje, Wian Vosloo, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw.
Siya Kolisi has discussed his fairly serious injury ahead of the Stormers’ round 2 clash with the Bulls:
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