Bulls v Stormers preview


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Loftus Versveld, Pretoria, 16.00 (14.00 GMT)

The Bulls have dominated the Stormers in recent times, beating them 43-10 in Cape Town last year, and smashing them 75-14 in Pretoria the year before.

But the Stormers have overcome those setbacks in recent times, beating them home and away in last year’s Currie Cup as Western Province – their Western Province line-up being much the same as their franchise’s.

The Stormers have lost one or two games this year which they should have won, and it those losses which have meant they trail the Bulls by four points on the log.

The Bulls, meanwhile, have kept themselves in the hunt by scoring some rare away wins, and will be desperate to win their home games so as to qualify for their third straight semi-final.

But the Bulls are wary of an improved Stormers tight five, with Bulls forwards coach Pote Human saying, “We expect a really big onslaught up front.”

But the Stormers realise that improved as they may be, an outright clash upfront is not perhaps the wisest option against the bulky and hyper-aggressive Bulls.

Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe learnt some lessons from the Crusaders comfortable defeat of the Bulls.

“The Crusaders forced the Bulls out of their comfort zone by not giving them as many line-out balls and kicking the ball downfield. After that you require absolute patience and commitment on defence.

“They remained calm, waited for their opportunities and turned ball over at crucial stages – scoring from those turnovers. That other crucial factor is that they [the Crusaders] didn’t make many mistakes inside their own area.”

Stormers skipper Luke Watson asserted that the Cape Town side would be hoping to outwit the Bulls’ style of play.

“It is about how clever we can play. It is not just the physical confrontation and the domination of the contact points that are important, it is also how calm you can stay under pressure.”

The Stormers also have their fetching loose trio up their sleeve. But the Bulls have Pierre Spies back…

Prediction: The Stormers tight five seems like it may have turned the corner this year, and Gerrie Britz and Andries Bekker pose a threat to Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield in the lineouts. The form of De Wet Barry, juxtaposed with his out-of-sorts counterpart Wynand Olivier is also a factor. If the Stormers can neutralise the threat of the Bulls set pieces, they will win this game. This is far too tight to call, so we will go for the home side. The Stormers have not been convincing enough to show they have the firepower to go out and beat the Bulls.The Bulls by less than ten points.


Bulls: 15 Johan Roets, 14 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Danie Thiart, 18 Pedrie Wannenburg, 19 Derick Ku’n, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Morn’ Steyn, 22 Akona Ndungane

Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Breyton Paulse, 13 Corne Uys, 12 De Wet Barry, 11 Brent Russell, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Bolla Conradie, 8 Justin Melck, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Gerrie Britz, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Joe Van Niekerk, 20 JP Joubert, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Dylan Des Fountain.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Touch judges: Christie du Preez (South Africa), Gareth Lloyd-Jones (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Arrie Schoonwinkel (South Africa)

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