Venu: Kings Park, Durban.
Kick-off Sat 2 Mar: 19:10 (Local)
3 Mar NZ 06:10 (Auck)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn (c), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Bench: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane.
Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de Villiers (c), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (vc), 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff. Bench: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Peter Grant, 22. Gerhard van den Heever.
Previous results: Sharks: Home 71 – 8 Leopards
Away 50 – 19 Pumas
Away 29 – 22 Cheetahs (most recent fixture).
Stormers: Away 26 – 27 Cheetahs
Home 57 – 0 Boland
Away 17 – 25 Bulls (most recent fixture).
Hosts the Sharks boast the better form of the two sides and Durban, notoriously, is uncomfortably hot and humid for visiting teams so early on in the tournament. Of last weekends’ matches, the Stormers performed better than the Sharks even though they lost and the Sharks won. The Stormers have the added bonus that kicking should not prove to be a difficulty this weekend with Joe Pietersen starting and Peter Grant on the bench.
Betting: Outright: 8/15 v.s 15/8
Handicap: -5 v.s +5
Prediction: The Sharks will have to improve from last weekend’s performance to front it with the Stormers on Saturday. We however do not enjoy the Jean de Villiers; Damian de Allende combination as they are both players that enjoy to cut back inside and take contact. For this reason alone, tries will be few and far between for the Stormers, yet again, this year. Sharks to win in a close match where the attack of the centre pairings prove the difference between the two sides.