The Bulls welcome the Stormers to Loftus on Saturday evening for the headline match of the fourth round of Super Rugby Unlocked.
Bulls vs Stormers: Super Rugby Unlocked preview
The Stormers and Bulls both managed to score more than 40 points last week, but they would be hard-pressed to play more contrasting matches.
The Bulls were in complete control against the Sharks for much of the encounter bossing the set-pieces and taking their chances from broken play to put in perhaps the best single-match performance we have seen in Super Rugby Unlocked to date, winning 41-14.
Last week in Nelspruit the Stormers trailed 14-30 at halftime before a late rally helped them secure a last-gasp 42-37 win.
Super Rugby Unlocked: Team news – Bulls vs Stormers
Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane will anchor the Bulls scrum in the only change to the their starting XV for this outing.
There is a suggestion that the starting team will lean toward the abrasive yet dynamic style of play that former Junior Springbok lock forward Ruan Nortje brings to the table. The two-metre tall 113 kg 22-year-old has made 20 carries and 21 tackles thus far and is one of only two players to do so after three rounds of action.
The only change amongst the replacements sees Springbok loose forward Nizaam Carr replacing fellow Springbok Arno Botha.
“The Stormers tend to be our measuring stick and beating them is non-negotiable amongst the players,” said Bulls Director of Rugby, Jake White.
Springbok loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff will captain the Stormers for their visit to the capital.
Kitshoff takes over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Jaco Coetzee, meanwhile, replaces Kolisi on the side of the scrum, while JD Schickerling will start at lock in the only other change to the forward pack.
Stormers coach John Dobson said that his side is looking forward to testing themselves in what should be another North-South classic.
“This match is one of the highlights on the South African rugby calendar, so we are looking forward to taking on that challenge this weekend,” said Dobson.
Bulls team: 15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren.
Stormers team: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 David Meihuizen, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Ben-Jason Dixon, 23 Godlen Masimla, 24 Tim Swiel, 25 Angelo Davids, 26 Tristan Leyds.
Bulls vs Stormers – Where to watch, kick-off time
Date: Saturday 31 October
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Stuart Berry
Television Match Official: Jaco Peyper
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby