Super Rugby Unlocked, Round Six - Teams and predictions
STORMERS FAREWELL: It is a significant moment that has arrived with little fanfare – the last time the Stormers will play at Newlands.
In the second half of the domestic season, when it is called the Currie Cup, Western Province will have three more games at Newlands.
But it is the last time a team called ‘The Stormers’ will run out on the hallowed turf.
Stormers coach John Dobson took a holistic view of the situation.
“I see the last game at Newlands, hopefully, on January 23, in a [Western] Province jersey,” Dobson said of a potential Currie Cup Final.
Stormers stand-in skipper Steven Kitshoff took a similar “long-term” view of the situation.
“Playing the Currie Cup Final at Newlands is the bigger picture,” Kitshoff said, adding: “That, as a team, is what we are working towards.
“We want to make it a successful campaign.”
Dobson said that after three weeks on the road – a fortuitous 42-37 come-from-behind win over the Pumas, a shocking 6-39 loss to the Bulls and a more palatable 39-6 win over Griquas – his team is determined to make the most of being back on home turf.
“It is fantastic to be back at Newlands, although our fans will still be dearly missed,” the coach said.
He added that they would like to build on their performance last week in Kimberley.
“We are focused on delivering an accurate display .”
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Dobson spoke of the big “game drivers” that were missing for the Cheetahs team, in last week’s 13-19 loss to the Sharks in Durban – players like Frans Steyn (groin injury), Ruan Pienaar (knee injury), Jasper Wiese (moved to Leicester Tigers) and Walt Steenkamp (moved to the Bulls).
“They have to rebuild their team with all those key players missing.
“However, what we do know is that they never go away and will always fight to the bitter end.
“They are obviously fighting for a much bigger cause than just a competition now,” Dobson said of the SA Rugby decision to kick the Cheetahs out of the Pro14 competition.
“A desperate team is always a dangerous team, so we are under no illusion that it is going to be a very hard game.”
Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie spoke of the need to make a “huge step up” from last week’s (13-19) loss to the Sharks.
“We emphasised our discipline and execution the whole week,” he said, adding that they are confident they can rectify those shortcomings and produce a much better performance.
“I always say tight games get won or lost by the tight forwards,” Fourie said, adding: “The Stormers have a powerful pack, so we will need to be on the money with our forwards.
“We need to dominate and get quick ball on the front foot.”
* The drama of a critical penultimate weekend of league action starts on Friday, when the Sharks make the tricky trip to Kimberley to take on Griquas.
After five rounds of action, the Bulls remain the log leaders on 19 points (with four wins and loss), followed by the Sharks and Stormers (both on 13 points – three wins), the Cheetahs (12 – two wins and a draw), Lions (10 – one win and a draw), Pumas (five – one win) and the winless Griquas (two).
If the Bulls get four points or more in their final match against the Pumas next week, they will wrap up the Unlocked part of the domestic season.
To retain that slim hope of overhauling the Bulls – should they falter next week – the Stormers, Sharks and Cheetahs must all win this weekend.
The third match of the weekend will see the Lions hosting the Pumas at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen spoke of looking at the “bigger picture”, given that they are out of the running for the Super Rugby title.
“We feel – even though the results didn’t go our way – we are getting better and our systems are getting better,” Van Rooyen said ahead of this weekend’s outing.
“Our set-pieces, attack and defence are improving every week.
“We are growing and moving forward.”
Teams and predictions for Round Six follow after the video!
Friday, November 13:
Griquas v Sharks
(Griqua Park, Kimberley – Kick-off: 19.00, 17.00 GMT)
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Griquas and the Sharks in Super Rugby Unlocked.
The Griquas continue the search for their maiden win in Super Rugby Unlocked, having conceded exactly 100 points across their last two appearances in the competition.
The Sharks have won three of their four games in Super Rugby Unlocked, despite having scored 20+ points in a game only once so far this season.
Zak Burger (Griquas) has crossed the gainline on 80 percent of his 20 carries in Super Rugby Unlocked, the most of any player to have made at least as many carries this season.
Madosh Tambwe (Sharks) has crossed for a try in five of his last six games across Super Rugby and Super Rugby Unlocked and has scored one try in each of his two games in the latter competition thus far.
@rugby365com: Sharks by 14 points
Head to head
Griquas: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Johan Momsen, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Replacements – from: Monde Hadebe, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Carl Els, CJ Velleman, Theo Maree, Tinus de Beer, Daniel Kasende, Bandisa Ndlovu, Ewan Coetzee, Ashlon Davids.
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Sibusiso Nkosi.
Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Paul Mente
TMO: Jaco Peyper
Saturday, November 14
Lions v Pumas
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 16.30, 14.30 GMT)
This will be the maiden encounter between the Lions and Pumas in Super Rugby Unlocked, with both teams coming into this fixture on the back of a defeat.
The Lions have led at half-time in each of their last three games in Super Rugby Unlocked, but have managed to convert only one of those three leads into a win.
The Pumas have led at half-time in two of their last three Super Rugby Unlocked games, going on to win only once in that span.
However, that win did come in their last game away from home (Round Two v Griquas).
Wandisile Simelane (Lions) has scored a try in each of his last two Super Rugby Unlocked games, as well as logging four try assists and seven clean breaks in that span.
Neil Maritz (Pumas) has made two break assists by offload in Super Rugby Unlocked, one of only two players to have made more than one (also Stormers’ Daniel du Plessis – two).
@rugby365com: Lions by 16 points
Head to head
Lions: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Pumas – possible: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Theo Boshoff, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrion Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naudé.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Morné Ferreira
TMO: Willie Vos
Stormers v Cheetahs
(Newlands, Cape Town – Kick-off: 19.00, 17.00 GMT)
The Stormers won their last five games on the bounce against the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, although this will be the first meeting between the two clubs in Super Rugby Unlocked.
The Stormers have lost only two of their last 10 home games across Super Rugby and Super Rugby Unlocked and picked up a 23-17 win over the Lions in their only home game of the Super Rugby Unlocked season so far.
The Cheetahs are yet to concede a first-half try in a game in Super Rugby Unlocked, conceding a total of just 12 first-half points in that time.
The Stormers have made a competition-high 63 offloads in Super Rugby Unlocked, while no team has made more break assists (four) or try assists (three) by offloads this season than them.
Malcolm Jaer (Cheetahs) has made eight clean breaks from just three appearances thus far in Super Rugby Unlocked, more than any other player in the competition.
@rugby365com: Stormers by eight points
Head to head
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements – from: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 Chris van Zyl, 21 David Meihuizen, 22 Ben-Jason Dixon, 23 Godlen Masimla, 24 Kade Wolhuter, 25 Michal Hazner, 26 Leolin Zas.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Boan Venter, 17 Marnus van der Merwe, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Egon Seconds
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans
* Statistics provided by Opta Sport