Siya Kolisi’s return to Cape Town and the clash between four Springbok props are just two of the subplots to watch when the Stormers host the Sharks in Cape Town on Saturday.
Kolisi makes Cape return
Undoubtedly one of the biggest talking points of Saturday afternoon’s match revolves around Kolisi facing off against his old side.
The Springbok captain brought his 10-year association with Western Province rugby to an end when he completed a move to the Sharks in March.
Kolisi looked refreshed in his first appearance for the Sharks against the Bulls a few weeks ago, where he scored a try before understandably running out of steam in the second half.
On Saturday, he will be up against his mentoree Nama Xaba, who wears the No 6 jersey for the Stormers.
Bok props collide
Both the Stormers and the Sharks have named strong teams for Saturday’s clash, which includes four Springbok props.
Bok incumbents Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe will up against Thomas du Toit and Ox Nche respectively.
The Sharks players will look to show why they should be considered as challengers for the No 1 and 3 jerseys for the upcoming British & Irish Lions series. Kitshoff and Malherbe, meanwhile, can prove why they are considered the first choice at loosehead and tighthead respectively.
Expect an almighty tussle when it comes to scrum time.
Du Toit makes long-awaited return
Springbok flank Pieter-Steph du Toit will make his long-awaited return from injury as Stormers coach John Dobson has named him to start against the Sharks.
Du Toit has been sidelined since February last year, when he suffered a career-threatening leg injury. He was set to make his comeback during the Preparation Series, but was delayed after he hurt his nose during a training session.
Now back fully fit and raring to go, Du Toit will undoubtedly be looking to make a big impact when he takes to the field at Cape Town stadium.
His performance on Saturday will certainly be keenly watched by Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber and his coaching staff, as Du Toit remains a key player going into the upcoming British & Irish Lions series.
Young playmakers look to prove worth
Saturday’s match will also feature some of South African rugby’s brightest prospects at flyhalf and fullback.
Damian Willemse and Aphelele Fassi will start in the 15 jerseys for their respective teams, while Curwin Bosch will be up against the Stormers’ Kade Wolhuter.
With clear skies expected on a sunny Cape Town afternoon, conditions should be perfect for both sets of players to produce some excellent running rugby and show that they can also control a game tactically.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images