The Sharks and Stormers will face off without any of the Springboks’ players in their teams.
Stormers’ David Meihuizen (2ndL) tackles Shark’s Henco Venter (2ndR) during the Vodacom Superhero Sunday rugby match between the Cell C Sharks and the DHL Stormers at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on 19 January 2020. Picture: AFP
CAPE TOWN – The Northern Hemisphere United Rugby Championship sides are on a break due to the Six Nations.
Moreover, Springbok players are also on a forced rest period which means the Stormers and Sharks – the two sides with the most Boks in their ranks – will have to battle without them on Saturday.
It doesn’t seem to be much of an issue though, as both sides have players returning from injury at exactly the right time, meaning it’s still game on for the coastal rivals.
Starting with the Stormers – the defending URC Champions – coming off a loss to Ulster in Belfast last week, they will look to make up some log points to increase their lead near the top of the table.
The Stormers are currently sitting in the second spot on the combined log.
Coach John Dobson has made a number of changes, with stalwart Deon Fourie named as captain and this weekend will see the much-anticipated return of wing Seabelo Senatla.
Amongst the other changes in the backline, Clayton Blommetjies, Dan du Plessis, Manie Libbok along with scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies have been recalled to the starting line-up.
The newest member of the squad, lock Ruben van Heerden gets his first start in the jersey, and he will partner with Gary Porter. Staying with the forwards, Joseph Dweba is back at hooker with Neethling Fouche and Fourie all returning from a break last weekend.
On the bench, loose forward Keke Morabe is in line to make his debut. Willie Engelbrecht, Paul de Wet and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu are also among the replacements.
Stormers starting side:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris.
Subs: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu
Now to the hosts, the Sharks, who were the only South African side to win away from home last weekend A narrow 22-19 win over Edinburgh in Scotland.
Director of Rugby and interim coach, Neil Powell has made a couple of changes to his team.
In the front row, Ntuthuko Mchunu replaces Ox Nche and Carlu Sadie comes in for Thomas du Toit, with the rest of the pack remaining in place.
And in the backline some positional switches, Cameron Wright will start at scrumhalf in place of the injured Grant Williams, while Rohan Janse van Rensburg is back in midfield to partner Ben Tapuai. Tapuai shifts to the outside centre in place of Francois Venter.
Sharks starting side:
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Subs: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe
The game will be played at King’s Park kick-off at 14:00 on Saturday.