Matfield to mastermind Bulls win
- 08 May 2014
It will be a case of men versus boys when a Victor Matfield-inspired Bulls side target the Stormers' lineout at Loftus Versfeld.
Lock Jean Kleyn is set to make his debut for the Stormers this Saturday, and has already told the Cape press that he's thrilled to be playing against one of his childhood heroes. He will be partnered by another rookie, Ruan Botha, in the second row.
It should be a memorable match for these youngsters, but for all the wrong reasons. Matfield has defeated seasoned players and lineout units at Test level, and will be expected to get the better of an inexperienced Stormers combination in this week's derby at Loftus.
The Stormers have spoken about playing a more attacking game, but their free-running ambitions will be compromised by their limitations at the set piece. Matfield will secure possession for the Bulls on their own ball, and disrupt the Stormers when it is the visitors' turn to feed. A player of Andries Bekker's class and experience used to have pre-match nightmares about facing Matfield, so one can only imagine how Kleyn, Botha, and even hooker Scarra Ntubeni must be feeling before the next trip to Loftus.
The Cape side does possess some world-class players in Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen, but two players cannot compensate for the lack of experience across the board. Wing Chelsin Kolbe is another who will be making his Super Rugby debut, and should be tested with a series of high balls early on in the fixture.
The Bulls have a reliable goal-kicker in Handré Pollard, who has converted 10 of his 12 attempts in 2014 (83%). Overall, the Stormers have the worst goal-kicking stats in this year's tournament (67%). It could prove costly yet again this Saturday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Bulls 9, Stormers 11, Draw 1
In Pretoria: Bulls 4, Stormers 5
MATFIELD'S STATS THAT MATTER
55 – The number of lineouts he's won on the Bulls throw (Rank 1 in the competition)
133 – The number of Super Rugby games he has played (a South African record)
Source: Vodacom Stats app
Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Wimpie van der Walt, 21 Rudy Paige, 20 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21 William Small-Smith.
Stormers – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Damian de Allende, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Peter Grant, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (c), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Dylon Frylinck, 22 Michael van der Spuy, 23 Devon Williams.
Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix
Four takeaways from past weekend
What we learned from the 10th round of Super Rugby, according to CRAIG LEWIS.
Pollard is silencing doubters
The manner in which Handré Pollard has marshalled proceedings in the Bulls’ recent wins over the Stormers and Sharks is a positive sign for the Boks, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Fighting a losing battle
JON CARDINELLI reveals the reasons for South African rugby's player drain and why talented youngsters may continue to move abroad.