at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Get on the right side of referee Jaco Peyper
The Bulls thrive on Morné Steyn kicking those early penalties when the opposition are so eager to get stuck into them that they are blown up by the referee. The Stormers learnt that lesson in the Super 14 final in 2010 at Orlando Stadium against the Bulls. Peyper can be pedantic at times at the breakdown, although he did certainly improve as the 2012 season wore on. He had a reasonably good game in the Currie Cup final last year. The fact that the Bulls have chosen Deon Stegmann at openside flank shows that they will try to stop the Stormers from getting quick ball from the breakdowns. Likewise, Deon Fourie is brilliant on the ground, but he cannot afford to give away those crucial few penalties at ruck-time. The wild and woolly Loftus faithful will also try to put pressure on Peyper. The Stormers should not allow themselves to be in a situation where a referee’s decision will determine the outcome.
Allow Groom and Jantjies to use dancing shoes
After years of Duvenage and Grant at the helm, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has finally decided to select the refreshing Groom and the dynamic Jantjies at 9 and 10. Despite having had the likes of Habana, Aplon, De Villiers and De Jongh in the backline, the Stormers can’t score tries; they are a conservative team; their defence wins them games. Now they have a combo in Groom and Jantjies who could provide them with the keys to the attacking wonderland. But their presence won’t be of any use if the Stormers coach tells them to stick to the percentage game of the last few years. It doesn’t mean that they must run the ball from their dead-ball line every time – it just requires Coetzee to empower his troops to play what’s in front of them. Let them be free!
Taute the bomb defuser
Jaco Taute has proved when playing for the Lions and the Springboks that he is a free-spirited runner from the back who likes nothing more than having a go. But the main reason why he was lured to Cape Town on loan was to deal with the high ball. As cool as Joe Pietersen is, he has made a few mistakes in that area in some big games, most notably during last year’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Sharks. Taute will turn only 22 next month, and he can expect a few early birthday presents from Morné Steyn and Zane Kirchner. If he can defuse those high bombs that Bjorn Basson will be chasing, the Stormers will be halfway to victory. If he doesn’t, watch out for Francois Hougaard when the ball is bouncing around the Stormers 22.
Tell Jean to use extra hair gel
The one area where Wynand Olivier beats Jean de Villiers as a centre is in the hair stakes. No matter what the Springbok captain will tell you about his perfectly gelled hair, he is no match for Olivier, who has sharp blond locks that wouldn’t look out of place on a TV shampoo ad. We don’t know how well Olivier has tended to his hair out in Japan, where he has been playing club rugby for the Black Rams. So, while we all feel that De Villiers is by far the better centre of the two, perhaps he could also use a bit of extra gel to ensure that every hair strand is in place, especially as things are going to get rough at Loftus tonight.
Duane must rough up Spies
It’s the pretty boy against the tough guy – and some would say, a “real” No 8 against a wing parading as a No 8. Okay, okay, it’s getting personal, and that’s how it’s going to be between these two big men at Loftus tonight. Vermeulen claimed the Bok No 8 jersey that many would’ve thought would be Spies’s property for as long as Heyneke Meyer was Springbok coach. But Spies broke a finger in August last year, and Vermeulen stepped in to make his long-awaited Test debut. Now Spies is fit, armed with the new Bulls theme song “Stand by me” and ready to take his team back to the top of the Super Rugby tree. He has also played 50 Test matches for his country. But can he tackle Duane Vermeulen?
Robbie Fleck on...
Stormers gameplan: When you are playing against the Bulls, it’s not as though you can just come up here and think that you can run them off their feet. I guess people tend to look at our selection for this weekend and feel that that is exactly the mindset. The answer to that is that during the last few years, we are one of the few teams to have won up at Loftus. There is a certain way that has worked for us, and we need to take note of that. We learnt a lot during that Currie Cup win and it was exciting times, and we are definitely taking that with us in terms of our attacking game.
Elton settled: He missed the warm-ups, but he has been exceptionally good at training. He is running the show, as expected of him, and he is really excited to get this season under way and get his first game under his belt. He brings a lot of confidence to our set-up, and he is a kind of character who backs himself. We need a general, someone who can steer the ship in the right direction.
Goal-kicking: Elton has been practising every day, and he is dedicated to making that a real strength of his game. He is a real professional in that regard – he is out there training and improving himself all the time. He looked very comfortable in training.
Groom instead of Duvenage: Groomy earned his stripes in last year’s Currie Cup. He definitely brought a different dynamic to our attack, and that is what we are looking at. He was good in the 40 minutes he played against Boland; he has been sharp in training, so he gets rewarded. Dewaldt has been out for a number of months, and he still needs to brush up on a few things in his game. He was a bit rusty since his injury, but he has worked hard in the off-season.
Jaco Taute link with Gio and Bryan: He has been fantastic. It was always difficult against Boland, but it was a pretty impressive display from those guys in terms of the rapport they had. Jaco only played for 40 minutes, but he showed his class. He’s got a lot of energy, and what I love about him is his work-rate and ability to pop up anywhere on the field and get into good positions. He’s got a bit of freedom about his play, and that’s what we like.
Bulls danger man: Mapoe adds a bit of firepower to their backs. He will also contest those high balls in the wider channels. JJ is a strong outside centre, and Hougi is the real threat, the real danger man. We’ll have to really watch him around the edges.
Fixtures and teams
Today: Dunedin: Highlanders v Chiefs (8.35am), Melbourne: Rebels v Brumbies (10.40am), Pretoria: Bulls v Stormers (7.10pm).
Tomorrow: Wellington: Hurricanes v Blues (8.35am), Brisbane: Reds v Waratahs (10.40am), Bloemfontein: Cheetahs v Sharks (5.05pm), Port Elizabeth: Southern Kings v Western Force (7.10pm).
TEAMS FOR LOFTUS
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (capt), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morné Mellett. Bench: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Francois Venter.
Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (capt), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Bench: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gerhard van den Heever, 22 Joe Pietersen.
Referee: Jaco Peyper. Kickoff: 7.10pm. TV: SS1/SS HD1. – Cape Times