2015 South African Conference
2015 Australian Conference
*bp1 = for scoring 4 tries (or more). **bp2 = for losing by 7 points (or fewer).
The Stormers must avoid a ‘bye-week hangover’ if they are to beat the Rebels at Newlands on Saturday and take control of the South African Super Rugby conference.
The Rebels have never won in the Republic but Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has been at pains to stress that his team will not be underestimating their visitors, who have claimed some big scalps this year.
Indeed, wins on the road against the Crusaders and Brumbies this term underline the Rebels’ potential for causing an upset. In fact, a win for the Australian side could take them above the Stormers in the overall standings.
As a result Coetzee has avoided the temptation of using this weekend as an opportunity to give some of his Springboks an extended break to meet the quota for rest set by SARU. Schalk Burger must still sit out two games and skipper Duane Vermeulen is due one more week off but as a sign of respect for the Rebels, Coetzee has named his strongest side.
Neck-and-neck with the Bulls – who are on tour – at the top of the SA conference, a big win for the Stormers could give them some breathing room as the season reaches its climax.
“Rebels have performed really well this season,” said Coetzee at Thursday’s press conference.
“We just have to be up for the game and be physical — that never changes in rugby. They have beaten some big teams this season and have some proper players with a good coach so we won’t take them lightly.
“The big thing for us is that being back home at Newlands is a comfort. But we have to improve on our game and start well.
“It’s the business end of the season and I want to pick my best team, after a bye you sometimes struggle. So it was important to pick the best possible team for this challenge.”
The Stormers are on a four-match winning streak against Australian opposition and with rain expected on Saturday, expect the hosts to look to their scrum, which has dominated all comers this season, to turn the screw.
Despite their poor record in South African, Rebels scrum-half Nic Stirzaker says his side won’t change their approach. They still have a slim mathematical chance to make the play-offs but must win all of their remaining games and hope other results go their way.
“We need to go back to what we had been doing well for most of the season,” said Stirzaker.
“We need to bring in a heightened level of physicality than last week because that’s important over here in South Africa.
“There’s no major changes just because it’s crunch time.”
#STOvREB #RUGBY #SUPERRUGBY #RUGBYREDEFINED
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Dom Shipperley, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Colby Fainga’a, 22 Luke Burgess, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Date: Saturday, 23 May
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT, 03:10 AEST, 05:10 NZST)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Rodney Boneparte
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein