||We head straight to the final match of the round at Ellis Park where the Lions host the Stormers|
||Schoeman adds the extra points to deny the Sharks a bonus point|
||Sharks steal the line-out and run the ball from close to their try line as the hooter goes. KNOCK ON! Lambie knocks the ball into the hands of a Bulls player. Serfontein muscles his way towards the line and he gets the TRY!!!|
||PENALTY! Bulls are handed a penalty as Kankowski is caught off his feet at the breakdown. Schoeman opts to kick the ball into touch close to the Sharks 5 metre line|
||Bulls win another Sharks line-out throw and they maintain possession on the halfway line|
||Bulls in possession on the halfway line as they launch an attack. Kriel puts in a high kick but Deysel collects. The Sharks kick the ball back into the Bulls 22 and Schoeman kicks it into touch on the halfway line|
||Pressure kick for the debutant but he keeps his composure and makes no mistake to hand the Bulls the lead|
||Bulls have a chance to get points straight away with a line-out 30 metres from the Sharks try line. The maul is set and it makes its way close to the 22. PENALTY! Sharks illegally collapse the maul. Schoeman will have a shot at goal|
||Lambie hands the Sharks the lead will a great kick that sails between the uprights!|
||Here come the Sharks once again. In possession on the halfway line. PENALTY! Bulls are off their feet at the breakdown. Deysel takes a quick tap and the Bulls fail to retreat 10 metres. Lambie will have a shot at goal from about 42 metres|
||Sharks set the maul and Lambie puts up a high ball. Kriel claims the mark as he remains calm under intense pressure from Mvovo|
||Great defence form Bismarck as he wins the PENALTY for the harks! Lambie boots it into touch close to the Bulls 22|
||Sharks in possession inside Sharks territory|
||No mistake from Lambie and we down to a 1-point game|
||Lambie puts in a cross-kick! Ndungane rises well to claim possession back. He passes the ball to Marais, who gets over the line! NO TRY!! Ndungane is deemed to have knocked the ball on! The ref goes back for an earlier PENALTY! Lambie will have a shot at goal|
||Sharks definitely in the ascendency now. They have the line-out just inside the Bulls 10 metre line. Sharks set the maul and they make a few metres before its spread to the backline|
||A kicking battle ensues but the Bulls hold onto the ball inside their territory|
||Lambie makes it seven kicks from seven attempts as he adds the extra points|
||TRY!!! Reinach charges down a Paige box kick, collects the ball and sprints over the try line!!|
||Pollard maintains his 100% kicking record as he slots the kick to stretch the lead|
||Bulls set a rolling maul and have made their way from the 10 metre line into the Sharks 22. PENALTY! Sharks enter the maul from the side and Pollard will have a shot at goal|
||Bulls win possession and Pollard puts in a great kick to find touch inside the Sharks 22|
||Lambie boots the ball into touch on the Bulls 10 metre line|
||Sharks are standing firm in defence! PENALTY! Great defence from the Sharks as they are awarded the penalty!|
||Paige attempts a break down the blind side as the Bulls retain possession inside the Sharks 22.|
||Reinach puts in a kick from just outside his 22 but the ball rolls all the way over the Bulls' dead-ball line. Bulls opt for a scrum on the Sharks 22|
||Lambie maintains his 100% kicking record as he slots his 5th penalty of the match|
||Ndungane gets through a half-gap. Du Toit takes the ball to the Bulls 22. PENALTY! Spies fails to roll away at an earlier breakdown. Lambie will have another shot at goal.|
||Early shove from the Bulls hands the Sharks a short-arm penalty. Lambie boots the ball into touch on the Bulls' 10 metre line|
||The attack comes to nothing as Mellet loses the ball forward on the Sharks' 22|
||Bulls have their tails up now and are on the attack once again. Up to the Sharks' 10 metre line they go|
||Pollard adds the extra points to extend the Bulls' lead|
||Bulls with ball-in-hand on the Sharks 22. Paige finds Spies who breaks through a huge gap in the Sharks defence to get an easy TRY!!!|
||Lambie splits the uprights to get the first points of the half|
||KICK-OFF! Lambie gets the second half underway. Sharks are in possession on the Bulls 22. PENALTY! Stegman is penalised for sealing the ball off at the breakdown. Lambie will have a shot at goal|
||Matfield steals the line-out and Pollard pops it into touch. HALFTIME!!!|
||Bulls have the momentum on their side now but Paige kicks the ball straight into touch. Sharks take a kick throw-in and are up to the Bulls 10 metre line. Pollard charges down an attempted Reinach box kick. PENALTY! Engelbrecht is penalised for a high tackle on Lambie, who boots the penalty into touch close to the Bulls' 22|
||Pollard slots an easy conversion|
||Bulls look to hit back straight away with possession on the Sharks 22. PENALTY! Paige takes it quickly and the Bulls are 7 metres from the try line. TRY!!!! Stegman rounds off a patient Bulls build-up|
||He strikes it well and it sails between the uprights to level the scores|
||A line-out PENALTY to the Sharks as Du Toit is taken out in the air by du Plessis. Lambie will have a shot at goal from about 40 metres|
||Lambie slots an easy conversion|
||TRY!!!! Sharks get a try of their own! Kankowski rounds off a well-executed move. Marais breaks down the left touchline and finds Ndungane on his inside who puts Kankowski through a huge gap for an easy score|
||Sharks in possession via a line-out close to the Bulls 22|
||Pollard adds the extra points|
||Kriel goes on a blistering run which takes the Bulls up to the 22. He gives the pass to Hougaard, which looks forward, but the TRY stands!|
||Lambie slots his second kick of the match|
||PENALTY! Bulls are penalised at the breakdown for not releasing the tackled player. Lambie will have a shot at goal from the 22.|
||A kicking battle ensues and it's the Sharks who wins this round. They have a line-out on the Bulls 10 metre line|
||Sharks on the attack with a line-out on the Bulls 22 now. Ideal attacking position. STOLEN. Matfield steals the line-out and Pollard boots the ball down field but does not find touch. Sharks in possession on the halfway line|
||PENALTY! Bulls win the first scrum penalty of the match as Jannie is penalised for scrumming in on an angle|
||The throw-in is not straight and the Bulls will have the scrum feed|
||Sharks set a driving maul from a halfway line throw-in. The ball finds Lambie who puts in a high ball. The Bulls claim possession but goes into touch. Sharks line-out close to the Bulls 22|
||Pollard slots his third consecutive penalty of the match|
||Everything seems to be going the Bulls way at the moment as they are awarded another penalty from the line-out. Pollard will have another shot at goal|
||Bulls have possession inside their territory. PENALTY! Bulls are awarded the penalty as the Sharks fail to release the tackled player. Pollard puts the ball into touch on the Sharks 22|
||Pollard slots his second kick of the match|
||Bulls have possession just inside Sharks territory. The forwards take the ball up to the 10 metre line. PENALTY! Sharks are penalised at the breakdown and Pollard will have a shot at goal from about 45 metres|
||Lambie makes no mistake with his first kick of the match as he splits the uprights|
||Lambie puts in a cross-kick and Mvovo rises perfectly to maintain the possession. Into the 22 they go. Ndungane crosses the advantage line. 7 metres to go. PENALTY! Bulls are penalised for having hands in the ruck and Lambie will have a shot at goal|
||Sharks in possession on the Bulls 10 metre line|
||He splits the uprights and that's the first points of the match|
||Bulls win the ball back from the kick-off. PENALTY! Sharks are caught offside at the first breakdown and Pollard will have a shot at goal|
||KICK-OFF! Pollard gets the match underway|
||The teams are making their way onto the field|
||Some interesting match-ups on the cards. Strauss v Bismarck. Nyakane v Jannie. Matfield v Du Toit. And then the head-to-head everyone is looking forward to - POLLARD v LAMBIE|
||History suggests the Bulls should take this one as they are yet to lose to the Sharks in Pretoria. The last 3 matches at Loftus have gone the way of the home side, but their current form suggests they might relinquish that record today|
||The Sharks are coming off the back of a resounding win over the Lions while the Bulls will be reeling after 2 consecutive losses thus far in the competition|
||Welcome to the penultimate fixture of the Third Round! The Bulls are home to the Sharks in an all-South African encounter|
DERBY DAY: Two of Super Rugby's most successful teams - the Crusaders and Bulls - appear to be up the creek without a paddle.
Two of Super Rugby's most successful teams - the Crusaders and Bulls - appear to be up the creek without a paddle.
The seven-time champion Crusaders, without a title since 2008, travel to Hamilton to face compatriots and two-time champions the Chiefs.
However, it is trouble within their own ranks, as much as the opposition that could trip them up again.
After this intriguing opening to Saturday's derby-day action, we hop across the Tasman Sea where the Rebels host Brumbies in an all-Australian encounter in Melbourne.
Then it is the long trek across the Indian Ocean to Pretoria where the three-time champion Bulls take on the Sharks - the most successful team never to have won a Super Rugby title - in Pretoria. The Bulls, despite there array of superstars have been firing blanks this season and are winless after two rounds.
The last match on Saturday is another all-South African derby, just 50-odd kilometres down the M1 in Johannesburg - the winless Lions hosting the table-topping Stormers.
We look at Saturday's matches!
Saturday, February 28
Chiefs v Crusaders
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)
The two teams' buildup could not have been more contrasting if they tried - the Chiefs getting a rash of All Blacks back, the Crusaders having to soldier on without a few of their most influential and experienced internationals.
All Blacks Dan Carter and Israel Dagg will miss the Crusaders' trip to Hamilton, as the seven-time champions' tough start threatens to worsen.
Injuries to flyhalf Carter and explosive fullback Dagg, plus New Zealand prop Owen Franks' suspension for striking, are the cause of coach Todd Blackadder's biggest headaches.
The depleted Crusaders face a Chiefs side buoyed by the return of code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams, fellow All Blacks Sam Cane and international player of the year Brodie Retallick.
Scrumhalf Augustine Pulu, another of the team's returning All Blacks, said it is now up top the internationals to maintain the momentum build up through the team's unbeaten start to the season.
"The boys have done a real good job of rowing the boat and we've just got to jump in and join them," he told the Waikato Times.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Brad Weber had been great for the team in the opening two matches, which put pressure on Pulu.
"But [Pulu] is a good player and he's been working hard so we expect him to fire at the weekend," Rennie said.
2014: Crusaders won 18-17, Hamilton
2014: Chiefs won 18-10, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 20-19, Hamilton (semifinal)
2013: Crusaders won 43-15, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 28-19, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 20-17,Hamilton (semifinal)
2012: Crusaders won 28-21, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 24-19, Napier
Prediction: The Chiefs have won four of the last six contests between the sides, despite losing 16 of their 25 meetings overall. Fifteen of those 25 matches have seen the losing team end the game within the losing bonus point scope. The Crusaders have won all 18 of their scrum feeds so far. The Chiefs have managed the most clean breaks this season (20), almost twice as many as the 2014 finalists (11). James Lowe has made a competition-high 222 metres over the gainline so far, the Crusaders' Robbie Fruean is third on this list with 118 metres. The Crusaders look vulnerable and the Chiefs have some real firepower - especially among the backs. It will be a cracker, likely to be the weekend's most entertaining game, with the Chiefs winning a thriller by ;less than 10 points.
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Sean Polwart, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Rebels v Brumbies
(AAMI Park, Melbourne - Kick-off: 19.40; 08.40 GMT)
The Rebels and Brumbies will look to put last week's disappointing losses behind them. As with all of the teams in the Australian Super Rugby conference, the Rebels and Brumbies come into this game with a won one, lost one record.
After being pipped at the post by an Aaron Cruden penalty on the full-time siren - to lose 17-19, the Brumbies are determined to put their campaign back on track and reproduce the form that saw them put almost 50 points past the Reds in Week One.
Last year the Rebels beat an ill-disciplined Brumbies outfit 32-24 and Brumbies flank Scott Fardy, who was sin-binned, knows all too well the challenge which the Melbourne-based outfit will pose this Saturday.
"They've had a great start to the season," Fardy said.
"They were unlucky last week. I only caught the end of the game because we were obviously playing, but to knock off the Crusaders in Christchurch [in week one] is a huge effort and that's something we've struggled to do so they've been growing for the past few years and they'll get better."
Despite the Brumbies loss to the Chiefs last Friday, Fardy said that the side was happy with how the forwards played, and for the best part got the better of their New Zealand rivals, but was adamant that that's how the Brumbies pack should play each week.
"Our scrum's always been a big part of our game and the same with our line-out and rolling maul. Since 2012 it's been something we've been really proud of.
"It's had a good start this year, but we're two rounds in so it's going to be a big challenge this weekend against a good Melbourne pack," said Fardy.
"I think they've muscled up for the last few years. They've been growing as a forward pack and they're looking good and it's going to be a tough challenge for us to go down to Melbourne."
Making the trip down to Melbourne even more difficult is that openside flank David Pocock will again be missing from the side through injury.
The battle of the front row will play a big part in establishing who wins this game. Last week, the Rebels came up against another international front row and were impressive, and again they will need to be at their best.
Coach Tony McGahan said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing the Brumbies, a side he has great respect for.
"You're always in for a big challenge when you play against the Brumbies," McGahan said.
"They're the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise ever, and are a formidable opponent who have impressed so far again this season. We have a lot of time for their senior playing group and way they get on with their business on the field.
"It's an exciting opportunity to again test ourselves against one of the competition benchmarks, and show we are continuing to move forward in the right direction following very tough opening games against the Crusaders and Waratahs."
McGahan also praised the work of his forward pack despite eventually suffering a narrow defeat to the Waratahs.
"I thought that our forward pack performed very well and showed great physicality against the Waratahs," McGahan said. "The performance and togetherness of the forward pack in our opening two games shows that they deserve to hold their spots in the squad moving into the game against the Brumbies."
2014: Brumbies won 37-10, Canberra
2014: Rebels won 32-24, Melbourne
2013: Brumbies won 39-17, Canberra
2013: Brumbies won 30-13, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 27-19, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 37-6
Prediction: The Rebels' largest ever Super Rugby victory (35-14 over Cheetahs) came a year ago to the day of this game. The Rebels have lost six of the last seven clashes between the sides. The Rebels (85 percent) have the worst tackle success rate in the league after two rounds. Consequently, opponents of the Rebels have gained more metres (1,066) than against any other side so far. The Rebels have scored exactly three points in the first half in each of the last three meetings between the sides (W1 L2); the Brumbies have scored 10+ first half points in all eight meetings with the Rebels. The Rebels' biggest ally is in their homeground advantage. The Brumbies, at least on paper, have the classier team and should win by at least 10 points.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu.
Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Jesse Mogg.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
Bulls v Sharks
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)
Any team with 10 internationals must be rated a good bet to upstage the best.
However, the Bulls have been well-below par, with reputations taking bigger dents with every passing week - unlike the Sharks, who bounced back last week, after also losing in Week One.
"We have started poorly, no doubt and we have put ourselves under pressure, even if it is early in the competition," Bulls coach Ludeke said.
"One cannot really afford to drop any home matches if you have serious title aspirations, so nothing but a win will suffice.
"We realise the Sharks are one of the best teams in the competition, but we owe it to ourselves and the supporters out there to play to our potential.
"If we do that, we will be competitive as our squad is certainly good enough."
Sharks assistant coach Paul Anthony emphasised the importance of winning after a poor start - their loss to the Cheetahs in week one was every bit as poor as the Bulls' defeat to the Stormers on the same day.
"What is ideal is that we put in a better performance against the Lions after losing to the Cheetahs," Anthony said.
"We want our players to be accountable for how they perform. That game we lost, as with the Bulls against the Hurricanes [last week], those were both literally millimetres away from victories.
"Without a doubt the players felt accountable after the Cheetahs loss. They knew that they weren't on par, they were disappointed with themselves. But they all lifted their performances markedly and we're hoping to lift it even more, game after game."
Bulls captain Pierre Spies feels his team can turn the season around.
"We have lost to ourselves as much as our opponents so far," Spies said.
"We need to eliminate the soft moments from our game and make sure we execute. It is going to be a tough battle, a typical local derby, but we are ready for this challenge," Spies added.
Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis admitted his team will have t raise the bar considerably this week, as they are expecting the desperate Bulls to produce a determined effort.
"Last week, when we sat down, we were very disappointed in the previous game, but we picked it up and beat the Lions," Du Plessis said.
"You are only as good as your last game, so for us it is now about focusing on what we can change not focusing too much on the opposition, but you would be a fool if you think that they are not going to be storming out of the change room to be really physical, especially in the first half and even throughout the game.
"What is important for us is to be able to match that physicality and the intensity they will bring in the first few areas of contact."
2014: Bulls won 23-19, Pretoria
2014: Sharks won 31-16, Durban
2013: Bulls won 20-19, Pretoria
2013: Bulls won 18-16, Durban
2012: Sharks won 32-10, Durban
2012: Bulls won 18-13, Pretoria
Prediction: Of sides currently in the competition, the Bulls are the only South African representatives to hold a positive win/loss record over the Sharks (won 13, lost nine, drawn two). That includes seven wins in their last 10 meetings. Meanwhile, their last 12 wins over the Sharks have been by single-figure margins. The Bulls have conceded the most turnovers so far (34), though the Sharks have coughed up 33 themselves. Pieter Labuschagne has made the most tackles so far this Super Rugby season (39). Matt Todd and Michael Hooper are ranked equal-second with 31. The Bulls last lost their first three games of the season in 2005. You have to be an avid fan to put serious money on the Bulls. The smart money is on the Sharks to win - by 10 to 15 points.
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Travis Ismaiel, 23 Jurgen Visser.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga/Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Lions v Stormers
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)
South Africa's unbeaten table-toppers, the Stormers, are wary of an ambush in Johannesburg for the second season in a row - when they face the Golden Lions.
The Stormers, who jointly lead the standings with the Hurricanes, were chastened 34-10 by the Lions last year and are on their guard for Saturday's clash, despite the Johannesburg team losing both their matches so far.
"It is a different challenge this weekend," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said at a media briefing - when asked if the Lions would pose a similar threat than the Bulls (in week one) and Blues (last week) did.
"It is another game that you have to be up for.
"That is the challenge in this competition. One week you have a physical encounter from a foreign team, the New Zealanders - it was really physical last Saturday and the players did really well in that department.
"Yes, I know we have line-out issues we have to sort out, the execution wasn't that great.
"However, the discipline was outstanding. We could have been lured into a lot of off-the-ball stuff, but we didn't fall into the trap of retaliating - the team remained composed and we got on with the job.
"The challenge is different this week, with the width, passing game that the Lions bring.
"We just have to make sure we keep working hard."
Lions coach Johan Ackermann made eight changes to the starting line-up, after the team suffered their second consecutive defeat with a 12-29 loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
He was at pains to explain that the changes were part of their player management policy, while it was also partly an audition for players ahead of the Australasian tour starting next week.
"Our thinking is, let's put these guys out there and give them the opportunity to stake a claim to go on tour," Ackermann said.
The Stormers will be without powerhouse flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, who broke his leg in last week's 27-16 win against the Blues at Newlands and is out for four months.
2014: Stormers won 18-3, Cape Town
2014: Lions won 34-10, Johannesburg
2012: Stormers won 27-17, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 24-19, Johannesburg
2011: Stormers won 33-19, Johannesburg
2011: Stormers won 19-16, Cape Town
Prediction: The Stormers have won 12 of their last 13 matches between the sides. Their most recent meeting in April 2014 was the lowest scoring contest between these teams (21 combined points). The Stormers are one of two sides to win all of their scrums so far this season. Opponents of the Lions have spent the least amount of time in possession so far, an average of 11 minutes three seconds. The Stormers won their first three matches of the season in each of the 2011 and 2012 seasons and went on to win their first six games in each year, finishing first and second on those season-end logs respectively. There is no doubt who the favourites are - the Stormers. It is simply a case of what the margin will be - 15 to 20 points.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
Compiled by Jan de Koning
Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
The Bulls notched their first victory of the season by beating the Sharks 43-35 in a bruising encounter at Loftus Versfeld.