Planet Rugby

Preview: Bulls v Stormers

21st February 2013 22:04

Share:

bulls v stormers 2011 preview

No love lost: Bulls host the Stormers

The age-old north/south derby clash between these two South African heavyweight sides will continue on Friday when the Bulls play host to the Stormers.

The stage is set for another fiery affair that could well and truly go either way at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, as both teams look to kick-off their 2013 campaign with a win.

Buoyed by their 2012 Currie Cup title, the Stormers - with the core of the squad made up of Western Province players who helped win South Africa's domestic championship - will want to add another piece of silverware to the Newlands trophy cabinet.

Indeed, Allister Coetzee's troops will be desperate to throw away their chokers tag after finishing the 2010 season as runners-up to the Bulls before losing two consecutive home semi-finals to the Crusaders and Sharks respectively - meaning the wait for a maiden Super Rugby title goes on.

Quite simply, though, those losses with the finish line in sight will be all the motivation the Stormers will need heading into this campaign.

No strangers to winning Super Rugby tournaments, however, are the Bulls with three titles to their name thus far. By finishing in the top six last year and making the play-offs, the Bulls proved they are still a quality side even without their Bok legends.

The great thing about the Bulls is that they have an inherent hunger and drive that seems to motivate them to achieve great things. This, together with their illustrious history in Super Rugby is why they could very well be the competition's dark horse this season.

"The Bulls will always be in the mix. They are the only South African franchise to have won this competition three times, and they are a very proud team and union," said Coetzee.

"They have a quality pack and we have seen in the pre-season that Morne Steyn is back to his best, both in kicking out of hand and at posts."

The Bulls have also been further strengthened by the appointment of former Springbok and Bulls stalwart Victor Matfield to the Pretoria outfit's management team.

"I definitely think they will be a better side this year, I'd say much better," added Coetzee.

"They have an extra arrow in their quiver this year in the form of Victor Matfield.

"We all know what he has achieved and what expertise he can bring as an attack and line-out coach."

The Stormers came out on top in both their matches against the Bulls in last year's competition, including a rare victory at Loftus. Will lightning strike twice?

Prediction: Tough one! Out of all the games taking place this weekend, this has to be the hardest to call. We expect both teams to go at it hammer and tongs, but we have an inkling the visitors will edge an extremely tight encounter by the skin of their teeth. Stormers by less than five!

The teams:

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Mornè Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouchè, 22 Francois Venter.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Don Armand, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Gerhard van den Heever, 22 Joe Pietersen.

Date: Friday, February 22
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954