CAPE TOWN – Given how the Stormers’ last meeting with the Bulls ended, they will surely have a little more motivation to go out there and secure a win over Jake White’s team this weekend … not like they ever need a reason to want to do so against their rivals.
Here are three factors that could influence the Rainbow Cup SA match between the Stormers and the Bulls.
Always an important area, the set-piece, especially the scrums, is one that’s always a battle to look forward to when these two sides go up against each other.
Looking at the make-up of both sides’ tight five, the Stormers far outweigh the Bulls when it comes to Springbok representation.
But it doesn’t just come down to how Bok blessed the hosts are, they are also coming off a solid performance against the Sharks, a game in which Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Scarra Ntubeni, and Bongi Mbonambi shined.
If they can do it again in their second Rainbow Cup SA match, the Bulls pack sure are going to have a tough time, not only when they pack down, but also in open play, especially on the ground and in the tight physical contests.
The Van Reenen factor
This week will see Abner van Reenen form the Stormers halfback pairing with Godlen Masimla after Springbok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies didn’t recover in time from the quad contusion he sustained in last week’s clash. Van Reenen is in for Kade Wolhuter after the young flyhalf ruptured knee ligaments (ACL) last week.
During his starting debut in the Preparation Series, Van Reenen produced a stunner of a performance as he aced the game management test, kicked at goal flawlessly to contribute 19 points, kicked well out of hand and added some great touches on attack.
If he can continue all of that in his second start – combined with a proper shift from his forwards – I don’t see how the Stormers can’t win this one.
He may not be a hammer-wielding god, but Duane Vermeulen sure can bring thunder to a rugby field.
His inclusion in the Bulls line-up headlines their changes this week as the World Cup-winner returns to the captaincy after being sidelined with a knee injury, and there’s no doubt that he can add a major impact in this contest.
Whether it’s through overall mongrel or breakdown brilliance, the burly No 8 has the ability to influence this game in a big way.
Teams for Cape Town Stadium:
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 David Meihuizen, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Cornel Smit, 23 Edwill van der Merwe, 24 Andre-Hugo Venter, 25 Adre Smith.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 James Verity-Amm