The Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will be flying the South African flag during the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinals this weekend.
Handre Pollard and his Vodacom Bulls team face the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday morning with the men from Pretoria hoping to repeat their recent encouraging form against New Zealand sides. Saturday’s match in the Cake Tin kicks off at 09h35 and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
Then it’s off to Canberra where the Brumbies host the Cell C Sharks in the last of the weekend’s four knockout games, where the action is set to get underway at 12h05 (SA time).
The quarterfinals kick-off on Friday morning in Christchurch when the Crusaders, the defending champions, entertain the Highlanders from Dunedin (09h35), while the second match will be contested between the Jaguares and Chiefs in Buenos Aires during the early hours of Saturday morning (SA time 00h05).
Kriel, Jenkins back to boost Vodacom Bulls
Springbok centre Jesse Kriel will make a welcome return to the Vodacom Bulls starting team to face the Hurricanes in their Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinal clash in Wellington on Saturday morning.
The knockout game starts at 09h35 (SA time) and will be televised live on SuperSport1.
Kriel returns from an ankle injury and is set to earn his 70th cap in the light blue jersey as one of two changes to the starting side that beat the Emirates Lions last weekend.
The Springbok midfielder will slot in at No 13 and replaces the injured Burger Odendaal, while Johnny Kotze moves from wing to the inside centre berth. Meanwhile up front, Jason Jenkins also returns from injury to partner RG Snyman at lock, with Jannes Kirsten moving to the bench.
The Hurricanes have won three of their last four matches with the Pretoria outfit, all with a winning margin by five points or less, meaning another close-fought battle will be in the offering.
Handre Pollard, Vodacom Bulls flyhalf and skipper, finished the regular season as top points scorer on 186 points, while they have also managed to build up some nice momentum over the last three games. During this time, the Pretoria-based team have managed to secure a win and two draws against Kiwi-opposition.
What they said:
Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, described the return of Kriel and Jenkins as a boost: “Jesse’s experience and ability speaks for itself and it’s great to have him back. Jason has also been playing really well lately and he forms a very competitive combination with RG, so to have them united for this important game is a big plus. We have found some good momentum in the last couple of weeks though and will back ourselves on Saturday.”
Vodacom Bulls captain, Handre Pollard, praised the team’s improvement this year and said their quarterfinal appearance is a just reward: “We achieved one of our goals and the next target is to get into the semi-finals. As a group we have learnt good lessons this year, and we need to keep the belief and the focus if we want to succeed.”
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Toby Smith. Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May/Alex Fidow, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Richard Judd/Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Salesi Rayasi.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Head to Head:
Hurricanes won: 11
Vodacom Bulls won: 10
Hurricanes points: 567
Vodacom Bulls points: 539
Average score: 27-26
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2019
SA time: 09h35
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe, Brendon Pickerill
Television Match Official: Glenn Newman
Bosch starts at No 15 for Cell C Sharks against Brumbies
Curwin Bosch returns at fullback for the Cell C Sharks in one of two changes to the match day squad for their Vodacom Super Rugby quarterfinal with the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday. The match gets underway at 12h05 and will be televised live on SuperSport.
Aphelele Fassi has been ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury and is replaced by a fit-again Bosch. Juan Schoeman was not considered for selection last week against the DHL Stormers because of flu and he returns to the bench as prop cover.
The Durban side have enjoyed better success on the road this year than at home and they will be confident of a good showing against the Australian conference winning Brumbies.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks captain Louis Schreuder, speaking from the team’s base in Coogee in Sydney, said the team is focused and ready for the clash: “Everyone is excited and looking forward to the challenge. They’re a physical, well-organised team with a good set-piece and kicking game so we’re going to have to be well-prepared for that.”
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio. Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright.
Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola. Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Head to Head:
Brumbies won: 12
Cell C Sharks won: 10
Brumbies points: 568
Cell C Sharks points: 498
Average score: 26-23
Date: Saturday, 22 June 2019
SA time: 12h05
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner, Graham Cooper
Television Match Official: James Leckie
Other quarterfinals this weekend:
Friday, 21 June
09h35: Crusaders vs Highlanders, Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch
Saturday, 22 June
00h50: Jaguares v Chiefs, Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires