Planet Rugby

Preview: Stormers v Sharks

12th April 2013 08:57

Share:

Andries Bekker Stormers v Sharks 2013

No margin for error: Andries Bekker

The Stormers' play-off hopes hang in the balance as they welcome an in-form Sharks outfit to Newlands on Saturday.

Nine points behind the SA conference leaders and six points short of that all-important sixth spot, synonymous with qualification for the knock-out games, the Stormers no longer have any margin for error.

"We won't make any excuses, but now every week is a must-win for us," said Stormers skipper Jean de Villiers earlier this week, and he couldn't have summed the situation up better.

It's a far cry from last year's campaign when the Capetonians' near impenetrable defence took them to the top of the table before that fateful semi-final against the Sharks.

Since then calls for a more expansive style have seen Allister Coetzee's side try open up a bit, with limited success. Victory over the Chiefs has been the highlight in a campaign that has featured four losses in six starts. And they're yet to go on tour.

But all is not lost. De Villiers insists they're "not play playing bad rugby... just making crucial errors and we let it slip last week."

The key to the equation is balance and the addition of Elton Jantjies - with his flamboyant style brought from the Lions - has not worked out as hoped. Cynics might suggest that the fly-half's injury is a blessing in disguise and Gary van Aswegen, a long-time squad member, will be bring more stability.

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

Recent results against Saturday's visitors won't offer much encouragement for Stormers. Although the team from the Atlantic side of the South African coast lead the head-to-head stakes with 10 wins to 9 (at an average score of 21-20), the Sharks have won the last three derbies between these sides.

To be fair, the Stormers have not been dealt a lucky hand this term but complaints of injury setbacks from fans in Cape Town could be echoed in Durban, where Jacques Botes is the latest casualty with a broken arm.

Success over the Crusaders last week provided confirmation that the Sharks are genuine title contenders, even if the tries are not flowing. Another win for John Plumtree's side would leave them as the clear favourites to top the SA Conference because, unlike the Stormers last year, one gets the feeling the Sharks have the capacity to get their try tally ticking.

The comparative strength of the visitors' bench could well be the difference between the sides on Saturday, but don't go betting your house on a Sharks win as the Stormers always deliver the goods when their backs are against the wall.

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Cheslin Kolbe.

The Sharks: 15 Francois Steyn, 14 Sean Robinson, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Ryan Kankowski, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Kick-off: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Marc van Zyl (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821