It’s Schalk Burger versus Richie McCaw at Newlands as the 2010 Stormers host the 2006 Crusaders in game two of the Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
In the tournament opener, the 1996 Sharks claimed a convincing 32-18 victory over the 2001 Brumbies, thanks to a brace of tries from fullback Andre Joubert.
This week’s interactive showdown features two of the game’s most tenacious openside flanks and headlines a blockbuster matchup that pits the Super Rugby champions of 2006 against the 2010 runners-up.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has picked a starting lineup featuring three 2007 World Cup winners in centre Jaque Fourie, wing Bryan Habana and captain Burger and the emerging stalwarts of the Springbok team that would win the 2019 World Cup in No 8 Duane Vermeulen and flank Francois Louw.
Opposing them is the spine of an All Blacks team that would win the 2006 Tri-Nations, including fullback Leon MacDonald, wing Rico Gear, flyhalf Dan Carter and lock Chris Jack.
In some of the juicy matchups the ever-reliable and sturdy halfback pair of Peter Grant and Dewaldt Duvenage will take on the enterprising Carter and Kevin Senio, while Aaron Mauger and Casey Laulala will have to be on their toes against Juan de Jongh and Fourie.
The 2010 Stormers may have lost four games on their way to the Super Rugby final, but were comfortable against New Zealand opposition, beating the Blues (21-33) and Chiefs (15-49) away, and getting comfortable home wins over the Highlanders (33-0), Hurricanes (37-13) and Crusaders (42-14).
Coetzee’s soldiers ended up finishing second on the overall table, three points behind eventual champions the Vodacom Bulls, but boasting a superior points difference of 194. They progressed to the final thanks to a 25-6 victory over the Waratahs at Newlands, where Grant slotted six penalties.
However, they ran out of steam in the historic final at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, as the Bulls came away with a 25-17 win despite being outscored two tries to one.
The 2006 Crusaders, meanwhile, dominated their division, losing just once and being held to a draw as they finished top of the table, four points clear of the Hurricanes.
Much of their progress had to do with Carter, who scored a massive 221 points in 14 games to finish as the season’s top points-scorer.
It should be noted that their only defeat that year came at the hands of the Stormers, who powered to a 26-17 victory at Newlands.
In a notoriously foggy final in Christchurch, the Crusaders were able to beat the Hurricanes 19-12, with Laulala scoring the game’s only try.
2010 Stormers – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.
Coach: Allister Coetzee.
2006 Crusaders – 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Kevin Senio, 8 Mose Tuiali’I, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Reuben Thorne, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Campbell Johnstone, 18 Johnny Leo’o, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Stephen Brett, 21 Cameron McIntyre, 22 Caleb Ralph.
Coach: Robbie Deans.