Super Rugby Unlocked preview (Round 3)

Following their bye in round two, the Sharks will be looking for payback in their Super Rugby Unlocked third-round clash with the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday.

The Pretoria-based match is the second of two clashes on Saturday, with the Lions hosting the Cheetahs in Johannesburg in the earlier kick-off (4:30pm).

On Friday evening, the Stormers will be looking for an improved performance against a Pumas side coming off an impressive win against Griquas. Kick-off for that match is at 7pm.

Due to Covid-19 regulations, no fans will be allowed inside the stadiums. However, rugby fans will be able to watch all the exciting action live on SuperSport.

Rookie prop to debut for Stormers against Pumas

The Stormers will be without Springboks Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni for their trip to Nelspruit to face the Pumas on Friday evening. The duo will sit out the match and isolate as per regulations after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for  Covid-19.

Kitshoff’s absence means that Leon Lyons gets to make his first start for the Stormers, while Chad Solomon has replaced Ntubeni on the bench. Lyons’ promotion has also allowed another young prop in Kwenzo Blose to be called up to the bench.

DOBSON: Stormers planned to start Lyons

Stormers coach John Dobson has also opted to give wing Edwill van der Merwe his first start of the competition, in the injury-enforced absence of Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla.

Meanwhile, the Pumas have largely stuck with the same match-day 23 which stunned Griquas in Kimberley last weekend.

Former Griquas hooker AJ le Roux will make his debut for the Pumas as he replaces Simon Westraadt in the only change to their starting lineup.

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse has decided to make to changes to their replacements as Westraadt drops to the bench in place of HP van Schoor, while former Kings prop Ig Prinsloo could also make his debut for his new side on Saturday.

Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (c), 4 Darrien Landsburg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Morgan Naude.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Neil Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ig Prinsloo.

Stormers – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Leon Lyons.
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Michal Haznar, 24 Tim Swiel, 25 Tristan Leyds.

Match information

Date: Friday, 23 October
Time: 7pm
Venue: Mobombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Griffin Colby
Television match official: AJ Jacobs
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby

Kriel leads Lions in place of injured Jantjies

The Lions and Cheetahs will both have new captains for their clash in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.

Dan Kriel will captain the Lions as Elton Jantjies sits out the match due to a minor calf strain. The Springbok’s place at flyhalf is taken by Gianni Lombard, who has played off the bench so far in the tournament.

ALSO READ: Lions suffer Covid-19 blow ahead of derby

In the only other change to the backline Wandisile Simelane gets his first start of the competition in place of Burger Odendaal. Among the forwards, MJ Pelser replaces Jaco Kriel at flank. Both Odendaal and Kriel have been left out of the match-day 23 after starring against the Stormers at Newlands last weekend.

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has called up a bunch of new players to their bench. Hooker PJ Botha and wing Stean Pienaar could make their first Super Rugby appearances for the Lions if they make it on to the field.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs will be captained by former Junior Springbok flank Junior Pokomela, after Ruan Pienaar sustained a serious knee injury in the previous round.

Pienaar’s place at scrumhalf will be taken by Tian Meyer, while USA international Ruben de Haas is called up to the bench. De Haas, who played for the USA in the 2019 World Cup, could make his competition debut.

Lions – 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, (c) 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Stean Pienaar, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.

Cheetahs – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela (c), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais.
Subs: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Erich de Jager, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Chris Massyn, 22 Ruben de Haas, 23 William Small-Smith.

Match information

Date: Saturday, 24 October
Time: 4:30pm
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Aimee-Barrett-Theron, Griffin Colby
Television match official: Willie Vos
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby

Bok-boosted Sharks brace for Bulls challenge

The Sharks have welcomed Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi back in the only change to their starting lineup as they travel to Pretoria to take on a Bulls side looking for their first win in the competition.

Sean Everitt’s side had a bye in round two, where they were able to welcome a few players – including Nkosi – back from injury. Hooker Kerron van Vuuren and loose forward Henco Venter have also recovered and will play from the bench.

The Sharks, who beat the Lions in round one, will be looking for some payback after losing heavily to the Bulls on Super Fan Saturday back in September.

Bulls head coach Jake White has opted for a similar backline to the one that started in that match, as Kurt-Lee Arendse, Stedman Gans and Travis Ismaiel all return to the starting lineup. In the only change from the backline that beat the Sharks 49-28 David Kriel – who scored a brace off the bench in that match – replaces the injured Gio Aplon at fullback.

White has decided to hand two forwards their first starts of the competition. Elrigh Louw replaces Arno Botha in the back row, while Springbok tighthead Marcel van der Merwe – who rejoined the Bulls from Toulon during the lockdown – will replace Trevor Nyakane, who drops to the bench.

Bulls –15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren.

Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phendulani Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe.

Match information

Date: Saturday, 24 October
Time: 7pm
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Paul Mente
Television match official:  AJ Jacobs
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby

Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack