SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW : Stormers vs SunWolves

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The in-form Stormers will be determined to return to Super Rugby action with a bonus-point win over the Sunwolves at Newlands this Friday.

After four victories from five games before a week’s break, Robbie Fleck’s side have been riding high following the Allister Coetzee era.

What’s noticeable is the age of this Stormers group, as take out Schalk Burger and the average age of their pack is 23, which is a fantastic sign for the team’s pathway to senior rugby. The starting backline for this clash also has an average of 23, so this has to be a positive.

They might not be so pleased with their diminishing stocks at fly-half however, where another youngster, Jean-Luc du Plessis, comes in as Kurt Coleman is ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury.

No doubt the Sunwolves will want to make life as tough as possible for the debutant at Newlands, with the experienced Louis Schreuder and Juan de Jongh needing to offer plenty of help.

It won’t be an easy win and judging from how the Sunwolves have fared against South African teams this season – their last three fixtures against opposition from the Republic have been decided by five points or fewer – they will not be brushed aside. The Sunwolves have also scored 55 points in their last two games against teams from South Africa so the Stormers would be foolish not to respect what is to come.

But on paper it surely must be another win for Fleck’s men, which would put them in a great position, particularly with the Sharks taking on the Lions this Saturday. It will then be off to Johannesburg for the Stormers as tougher tests arrive for this promising young group.

The teams:

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (cc), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (cc), 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Damian de Allende

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Mifiposeti Paea, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yuki Yatomi, 8 Tomás Leonardi, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Timothy Bond, 4 Shinya Makabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Masataka Mikami
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Atushi Hiwasa, 22 Harumichi Tatekawa, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura

Date: Friday, April 8
Venue: DHL Newlands
Kick-off: 19:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greef (South Africa)


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