Preview: Bulls v Stormers – 15/07/2017

The Bulls will be desperate to salvage some pride from their season when they host the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The men from Pretoria’s pride will be wounded after their latest catastrophic defeat; a 31-30 humbling by the minnows of South African rugby the Kings.

They have even lost to the Sunwolves in a season that has gone horribly wrong. Loftus, once a venue where opposition teams feared to play, is no longer the fortress it once was.

The Bulls have now gone four games at the famous venue without victory; the last time they lost more home games in succession was a run of nine losses from 2001 to 2003.

The Stormers have won eight of their last 11 games against the Bulls, including five of their last six, though each of their losses in that period has come on the road.

But the talk in the build-up to the match from the Stormers camp has been cautious, wary of the wounded animal in the form of the raging Bulls.

Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said: “We want to make a step-up in a number of areas this weekend and we know that we will face a total onslaught from the Bulls, which is what we are looking for.

“We know that we are going to have to produce a big performance on Saturday and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Whereas the Stormers have the playoffs to look forward to, the Bulls have no chance of qualifying.

But Bulls coach, Nollis Marais, is adamant that his side still have a lot to play for, despite them missing the play-offs.

“We are playing the Stormers at Loftus,” said Marais.

“This remains one of the biggest games for this team and nothing has changed about that. Yes, we are out of the running, but that does not mean that we do not want to win this one. We will really be chasing the win.”

And Bulls captain, Adriaan Strauss, feels that the team can still make a statement against the Stormers.

“We certainly owe them one following our defeat in the opening week,” said Strauss.

“We are a proud team and want to leave the field with our heads held high. We also need to snap the losing streak at home and what better way than beating the Stormers at Loftus.”

Previous results:

2017: Stormers won 37-24 in Cape Town
2016: Bulls won 17-13 in Pretoria
2016: Stormers won 33-9 in Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 15-13 in Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 29-17 in Pretoria
2014: Stormers won 16-0 in Cape Town
2014: Bulls won 28-12 in Pretoria
2013: Stormers won 30-13 in Cape Town

The teams:

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conrad Janse van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 John Roy Jenkinson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Burger Odendaal

Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (vc), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Dan Kriel

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 15:05 local (13:05 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Federico Anselmi, Jaco van Heerden
TMO: Marius Jonker




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