Stormers v Bulls - Teams and Prediction
GRAND FINAL: At the start of the United Rugby Championship season back in September no one would have predicted an all-South African Final.
However, after 18 rounds of challenging and exciting matches, the South Africans showed their character and this Saturday the Stormers and Bulls will face each other for the URC trophy.
The old rivals lock horns in a traditional north-south derby at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
The last time these played in a Final was 12 years ago – in the 2010 Super Rugby Final, when the Bulls claimed a 25-17 win at Soweto Stadium.
The win was their third Super Rugby title, having already claimed the trophy in 2007 and 2009.
And this weekend, Jake White’s team can rewrite history by becoming the only side that secures international franchise titles in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.
— United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) June 17, 2022
If one man can lead a team to victory it is Jake White.
The 2007 World Cup-winning coach has already coached the Bulls to back-to-back Currie Cup victories and this could be their third title in two years.
“I want the Bulls to win,” White said, adding: “The Bulls is the organisation, it’s not about me. I am the coach, but the players have to play.”
For the Stormers, having already won the South African Shield, a URC title would finally end their trophy drought and will also serve as an enormous accolade for John Dobson.
“I was asked whether this is the biggest game of my coaching career and it is,” Stormers coach Dobson said.
“For Jake White, it probably isn’t. He has coached and won a World Cup and has earned enormous respect.
“For me, it’s almost a privilege to coach against someone of his stature. He has coached all over the world.
“I grew up here, to me this is not a coaching contract. I haven’t travelled the world or got the track record he has. He has coached in bigger games than this, but for me, this means the world.”
A Thor[n] in Stormers’ side
Dobson’s side has been amazing this season. They earned the right to host the Grand Final as the higher-ranked of the two sides in the URC table, having finished second to the Bulls’ fourth.
The Stormers secured a Final spot after a victory over Edinburgh in the quarterfinals and a dramatic late semifinal triumph over Ulster – when Manie Libbok’s conversion with the last action of the match was the difference in a 17-15 victory.
The Bulls, meanwhile, overcame the Sharks with an equally late Chris Smith drop-goal before stunning tournament favourites Leinster with a 27-26 victory in the Final Four.
Knowing the importance of the match, White revealed the Bulls also have a secret agent in the shape of Duane Vermeulen.
The coach revealed that Ulster No. 8 Vermeulen will share how his team managed to challenge the Stormers’ maul during last weekend’s semifinal clash.
“Once I am finished here, I will be seeing Duane Vermeulen.
“He is going to eat with me and come to the captain’s run with me as well [on Friday]. I am going to talk to him a bit about what happened in the semifinal.”
Arendse to break Cape Town’s heart
BlitzBok star Kurt-Lee Arendse is the only change in the Bulls’ starting XV. The 26-year-old from Paarl will earn a starting berth in the No.15 jersey as Canan Moodie shifts to the wing.
David Kriel will provide cover on the bench.
“For a guy who was out for seven weeks, he played outstanding rugby against Leinster last week,” White said.
“It is his birthday on [June 17] so he is on a high and I’m looking forward to it.
“He played really well against the Stormers last time and he comes from Cape Town so his parents will be here.
“He was also picked for the Springbok squad, so he is having the week of his life.”
The Stormers coach, Dobson, has also been forced into changes.
URC Top Try Scorer Leolin Zas is out of the Stormers team due to injury and is replaced by Sergeal Petersen.
Deon Fourie makes his 100th appearance for the Stormers.
@rugby365com: Stormers by three points.
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Nama Xaba, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu.
Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Izak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Mantanzima, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 David Kriel.
Date: Saturday, June 18
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.30 (17.30 GMT)
Expected weather conditions: Light rain showers and a gentle breeze. A high of 17°C and a low of 9°C.
Referee: Andy Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)