The Newlands’ Battle To Be Decided Up Front

Photo by Hansie Linde/

In a heartbreaking last North/South derby between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers to be played at Newlands, both teams will go out to make sure they are remembered as the winners in this historical game.

The Vodacom Bulls come off a disappointing 15-23 loss against the Cell C Sharks in Durban while the DHL Stormers' performance against the Hurricanes ( 27-0) made them a firm South African favourite for the 2020 Super Rugby competition.

Springbok tighthead prop Frans Malherbe will play his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the DHL Stormers as coach John Dobson only made two injury-enforced changes to the Stormers' starting team which did duty last week and both are in the forward pack, with Springboks Bongi Mbonambi and Siya Kolisi both ruled out due to injury.

Scarra Ntubeni is set to play in the front row in between Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff, who will take over the captaincy from Kolisi, while Johan du Toit starts in the back row at No 8 alongside his brother Pieter-Steph.

Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane has been named as the only change to the starting team, with Wiehahn Herbst shifting to the bench. He will start alongside fellow Bok prop Lizo Gqoboka in the Vodacom Bulls’ front row in a battle that could just determine the outcome of this match. 

DHL Stormers coach John Dobson said that his players are determined to build on their performance last week in what should be a typically fierce South African derby: “We know there are some areas in which we can make a step up and we are expecting a huge physical challenge on Saturday, so we cannot afford to lose focus. This will be the last north-south Vodacom Super Rugby derby at Newlands, so it will be another piece of history for the rugby-mad people of this region.”

Vodacom Bulls coach Pote Human was happy with his team’s discipline last week in Durban where they only conceded five penalties but said this week’s preparations included serious conversations about finishing try-scoring opportunities: “Our discipline was good on the night which allowed us to stay in the game but we cannot afford to fluff so many opportunities. Vodacom Super Rugby is extremely brutal so when the try line presents itself then we must take full advantage of it.”

The teams:

DHL Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Johan du Toit, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kithsoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.