Preview: Stormers v Reds

Date published: May 24 2013

Two sides with contrasting styles will go head-to-head when then Stormers host the Reds in Cape Town on Saturday.

Two sides with contrasting styles will go head-to-head when then Stormers host the Reds in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Reds enjoy a free-flowing running game while the Stormers are renowned for their defensive style which depends largely on them capitalising on their opponents' errors.

That game-plan worked well for the home side in 2012 but several teams have worked out a counter to it and they have struggled this season.

Although the Stormers are virtually out of the running for a play-off place – after losing three out of four matches on their recent Australasian tour – they will fancy their chances of beating the Reds in front of their fanatical home crowd.

The men from the Cape have done well at home this season, winning three out of four matches with their only blemish being a loss to the Crusaders in Round Seven.

It's a big match for Stormers captain Jean de Villiers who will become the most-experienced skipper in the history of his franchise in this match.

The Springbok captain will lead the side for the 53rd team which beats the record held by another former Springbok skipper, Corné Krige.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has taken plenty of flak for his side's poor form this season and he has made several changes to his starting line-up for this clash.

Their last match against the Rebels in Melbourne proved costly, not only because they were on the losing side but also because of the injuries suffered to several key players.

Stalwarts like Juan de Jongh, Andries Bekker and Deon Fourie will all be missing from the matchday squad which has forced Coetzee to bring in several inexperienced players for this clash.

The Reds are keen to return to the victory trail to consolidate their play-off position.

The Brisbane-based outfit's seven-match unbeaten run came to an end when they lost 27-13 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.

After missing out on selection to the Wallabies squad all eyes will be on Reds playmaker Quade Cooper who delivered a below par performance in that clash against the Cheetahs.

Despite beating the Stormers 19-6 at Newlands in 2011, Reds boss Ewen McKenzie expects a difficult task but still believes his side can take the honours and return to their winning ways.

“Newlands is undoubtedly one of the toughest places to play in Super Rugby but we know what it takes to win here and understand the significance it can have on our 2013 campaign,” McKenzie said.

“We've only got one more game after this before we break for the June Tests, so it's crucial we get some runs on the board now before returning to Australia.”

Prediction: Although they will be at home, the Stormers are a depleted side after several injuries. That and the fact that the Reds won the last match between these sides in Cape Town gives the visitors the edge. Reds to win by eight points!

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Don Armand, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Eddie Quirk, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Ben Tapuai.

Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)