Stormers tighthead prop Frans Malherbe says it will be special to be able to run out at Newlands against the Bulls for his 100th cap on Saturday.
Malherbe will make his 100th Super Rugby appearance this weekend in front of the Stormers faithful, the first player to do so since captain Siya Kolisi in 2018. Making it even more special, is that he forms the front-row with Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff, players who started their own careers with Malherbe back in 2011.
The Springbok has always been a man of few words and in keeping with his character never wanted to be the focus of the headlines.
‘It is obviously special for me,’ Malherbe said. ‘I just told our media guy that nothing has been said about it, let’s keep it that way and I am going to stay out on the field and to send Kitsie [Steven Kitshoff] in for the media conference. It is special for me. But that is the last thing in the build-up to this game on the priority list.
‘It is the last year at Newlands as well, which is much bigger than any cap that I can get. I don’t think too many of the guys who have played 100 games, has played their 100th at Newlands. Obviously, you can’t control it. It is not in your hands. But that it works out like this is an absolute bonus.’
The Stormers are looking to build on last weekend’s 27-0 victory over the Hurricanes and make the most of their favourable draw at the start of the season.
‘While I am here and granted this opportunity to play rugby in Cape Town, I would like to make a difference and contribute,’ Malherbe said. ‘It is probably a bit of a cliche, but when I started some of the seniors always said you should leave the place better than when you got here. So I want to contribute to a successful Stormers campaign again.’
Against the Bulls, Malherbe will face a scrum boosted by their own Springboks in Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka, making for an intriguing battle at the set-piece.
‘It is not only a strong front row, it’s a strong pack,’ Malherbe said of the Bulls. ‘Daan Human is a very respected scrum coach, since his days at the Cheetahs. He has got some great results. There are some big players and very good scrummagers, who will be up for it on Saturday.’
Bulls coach Pote Human says he is confident that his forwards can handle the powerful Stormers pack when they clash at Newlands on Saturday.
The Bulls travel down to Newlands this weekend, looking for their first win of the season after a disappointing loss to the Sharks in the first round in Durban.
The game will feature a mouthwatering clash between two packs with plenty of provincial and international experience. The Bulls have been able to call Bok tighthead Trevor Nyakane back into the starting lineup, after he came off the bench last weekend. Nyakane will be opposing Springbok teammate Steven Kitshoff, who starts for the Stormers.
The Stormers displayed their threat at the set-piece last weekend, as they demolished the Hurricanes’ scrum and disrupted the New Zealanders at the lineout.
However, Human has been confident enough to switch tactics and name five forwards on the bench, as opposed to the six that he took to Kings Park.
‘It is always a risk when you only take two backs,’ Human said. ‘I believe we have the pack to match them. Especially now that Trevor and Lizo [Gqoboka] both had some game time last week. I am looking forward to the scrum battle and forward battle with these guys back in the pack.’
The Bulls’ record at Newlands is not great. The last time the men from Pretoria tasted victory in the Cape was back in 2011, so they will be desperate to break their losing streak. As an extra motivator, it will be the last time that the Bulls play at Newlands, with the Stormers set to move stadiums next year.
‘Everybody is up for this weekend,’ Human said. ‘It is a big derby, north vs south. It is the last time these guys will play at Newlands. So it is a great occasion for everybody. We are really well prepared for this week.’
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 (100th Cap) , 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c)
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
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 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
Stormers v Bulls
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Divan Uys (South Africa)
TMO: Joey Klaaste-Salmans (South Africa)