Stormers v British and Irish Lions - teams and predictions
LAST CHANCE: For one team it is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity, for the other, it is a final chance to fine-tune ahead of the Test series.
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has made no secret of the fact that this is a ‘final trial’ for players hoping to push for Test selection.
The first of the three internationals – between South Africa and the B&I Lions – is at the same Cape Town Stadium next Saturday, July 24.
It is followed by games on July 31 and August 7, which can be in Cape Town or Soweto – depending on whether the volatile situation in Gauteng has calmed down.
Gatland, who revealed he is ‘undecided’ about the bulk of his starting XV for next week, said he was “looking at some combinations” against the Stormers and also wanted to give some players another run.
However, finalising his team for next week’s first Test is the main priority.
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“It [the Test team] is probably fluid in terms of 60 or 70 percent,” the coach said.
“We’ve got some thoughts on where we are, we want to see some players have another hit out this weekend and look at some of those combinations.
“There’s a few guys who aren’t involved that we are pretty happy with.
“There’s still an opportunity for the side on Saturday and the players there to stake a claim as well.”
Stormers coach John Dobson has a very different approach to Saturday’s outing.
Apart from the historical nature of the game – with Western Cape teams having beaten the touring B&I Lions six times and drew with them twice – there is the opportunity for some young players to experience a game of Test-match level intensity and perhaps claim a BIG scalp.
“Obviously there is a personnel issue,” Dobson said of a team sans all their Springboks.
“There is also an experience issue, but that would be our job.
“The theme for us this week was Test-match intensity.
“We are a provincial team, but we are going to have to play at Test match intensity.”
Players to watch
For the Stormers: The hosts will be without eight Springboks – Steven Kitshoff, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Siyabonga Ntubeni, Marvin Orie, reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit, Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse. The most recognisable face in the Stormers squad is veteran Springbok centre Juan de Jongh, who recently returned from Premiership club Wasps and will play off the bench. Flank Johan du Toit, younger brother of Pieter-Steph, and lock Ernst Rhyn (who will also captain team) are the guys who must provide the muscle up front.
For the British and Irish Lions: Veteran tour captain Alun Wyn Jones is set for a remarkable comeback from a shoulder injury – another high-profile player that will feature off the replacement bench. Gatland is looking to give the lock about 20 minutes – if there are no early injuries. Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg will captain a completely new team from that which lost 13-17 to South Africa A in a bruising encounter on Wednesday. England flyhalf Marcus Smith will make his B&I Lions debut, after joining the squad earlier in the week – while Irish centre Robbie Henshaw returns to action after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Head to head
2009: B&I Lions won 26-23
1997: B&I Lions won 38-21
1980: B&I Lions won 37-6
1974: B&I Lions won 17-8
1974: B&I Lions won 26-4
1968: B&I Lions won 10-6
1962: B&I Lions won 14-11
1962: B&I Lions won 21-13
1955: B&I Lions won 11-3
1955: B&I Lions won 20-17
1938: WP Country won 11-8
1938: WP won 21-11
1938: B&I Lions won 10-3
1938: B&I Lions won 19-16
1924: WP Country won 7-6
1924: B&I Lions won 9-8
1924: B&I Lions won 13-3
1924: B&I Lions won 8-6
1903: WP Country won 13-7
1903: WP Towns won 12-3
1903: WP won 8-4
1903: WP and B&I Lions drew 3-all
1896: B&I Lions won 14-9
1896: B&I Lions won 8-0
1896: WP and B&I Lions drew 0-all
1896: B&I Lions won 32-0
1891: B&I Lions won 15-1
1891: B&I Lions won 6-0
1891: B&I Lions won 14-0
1891: B&I Lions won 4-0
1891: B&I Lions won 7-0
@rugby365com: British and Irish Lions by 25 points
Stormers: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Rikus Pretorius, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements – from: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Thomas Bursey, 22 Abner van Reenen, 23 Juan de Jongh, 24 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 25 Niel Otto, 26 Leolin Zas, 27 Cornel Smit.
British and Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Josh Adams, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit.
Date: Saturday, July 17
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 18.00 (17.00 BST; 16.00 GMT)
Expected weather: Partial sunshine, clearing up in the afternoon. High of 18°C and 15°C at kick-off.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Jaco Peyper
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen