The Stormers is the only SA side in action on tour abroad this weekend. Photo: Craig Golding/EPA

CAPE TOWN – The Vodacom Bulls will be tested at home in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon when they face Gauteng neighbours the Emirates Lions in the weekend’s only local Vodacom Super Rugby derby.

The big contest at Loftus Versfeld kicks off at 17h15. All four the South African teams will be in action during the weekend’s third round fixtures.

On Saturday morning (08h35) the DHL Stormers, with Dillyn Leyds at flyhalf in place of the injured Damian Willemse, face defending champions Crusaders in another crunch away fixture at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

Apart from Leyds’s move to flyhalf – a position where he last played for the Capetonians in their victory over the Blues last season – DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck has made another four changes to his run-on team, with Seabelo Senatla, EW Viljoen, Cobus Wiese and JC Janse van Rensburg all earning starting berths.

This match will be followed by the 15h05 fixture between the Cell C Sharks and the visiting Waratahs at Kings Park in Durban, where the men from Sydney have not won since 2009.

Cell C Sharks coach Robert du Preez has made seven changes to his team for this match, which includes the return of three Springboks to the starting team – they are experienced prop Tendai Mtawarira, loose forward Keegan Daniel and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder.

Last week the Vodacom Bulls got their campaign under new coach John Mitchell off to a winning start against the Hurricanes. This Saturday they face their rivals from across the Jukskei River in a mouth-watering local derby at Loftus.

Mitchell has selected an unchanged side from last week, with Warrick Gelant, a late withdrawal against the ‘Canes, still sidelined with a knee injury.

Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin has shuffled his team somewhat for the visit to Loftus. Kwagga Smith is struggling with a slight injury and is being rested for the match, which has resulted in two positional switches. Springbok lock Franco Mostert moves to blindside flank while Cyle Brink shifts to the other side of the scrum to play in the No 6 jersey.

In the backline, powerful midfielder Rohan Janse van Rensburg is preferred at inside centre while Harold Vorster moves to the bench.

The remaining team in the South African Conference, the Jaguares, are playing at home for the first time this season. The Argentineans entertain the Hurricanes in their 23h40 (SA time) kick-off in Buenos Aires.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said his charges are looking forward to running out against the champions: 

“The players are very excited about what we can achieve against the Crusaders this week, we certainly will not be holding back. It has been a good week of preparation and the mindset is that we are ready to rise to the challenge that the defending champions will present on their home turf,” said Fleck.

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Sharks coach Robert du Preez said the Waratahs' line-up includes field who can strike across across the park.

“We’ve got over the disappointment of the loss against the Lions and instead we chose to take the positives from that game forward. Training over the last two weeks has gone well with great intensity at sessions. Emphasis was placed on areas we needed to work on and the players are committed to getting things right. 

“The Waratahs are a good team and have some dangerous players across the park. We need to concentrate on our game-plan and managing key areas to nullify their threats. Playing at home is always special and we hope that the KZN public will come out and support their team. We will do our best to make our fans proud,” said Du Preez.
Lions coach Swys de Bruin said: “We are preparing well, we want to ask our supporters to join us there. We want to see our red and white (colours). We want to make a difference and play some attractive rugby there.”

Bulls coach John Mitchell said his team is ready to cope with the challenge posed by the Lions.

“We are going to have to be accurate at a set-piece because that is where it all starts and the Lions have strength in that area. They also enjoy moving the ball around and there is also an element of surprise. They are very innovative in the way they play and we will have to be able to adapt on Saturday.
“But we are still only taking it one game at a time because Vodacom Super Rugby is relentless and it will challenge us in different ways on a weekly basis. We got the result last weekend but we have to improve and be consistent in this competition. We are expecting a completely different challenge from the Lions this week,” said Mitchell.

The teams for this weekend are:

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Peter Samu, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Dillyn Leyds, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Kobus van Dyk, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 George Whitehead.

Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson. Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Will Miller, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.

Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Duncan Matthews.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Madosh Tambwe. 

African News Agency (ANA)