Bulls to tackle a Springbok-laden Sharks in crunch South African URC derby

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Jun 01, 2024, 05:33


he Sharks have kept changes to a minimum as they tackle the Bulls in the final round of the United Rugby Championship regular season.

Hot off of their Challenge Cup final victory over Gloucester, the Sharks have made just three changes to their starting line-up that defeated the Cherry and Whites.

Sharks team

Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Grant Williams and Makazole Mapimpi will all miss the derby against the Bulls, with the Sharks citing recovery and niggles. Conre Rahl, Cameron Wright and Eduan Keyter have all been elevated to the starting XV in their place.

The Sharks are out of the running for a place in the URC play-offs with head coach John Plumtree explaining that the side wants to “sign off on a positive note” after a difficult season.

As for the Bulls, there is plenty to play for as they head into the final round in second place on the URC table, with the potential to top the table should leaders Munster succumb to Ulster in their final clash. A top two finish would guarantee the Bulls a home semi-final if they progress past the quarters, while top spot would mean a home final should they reach that stage.

Despite the absence of three 2023 Rugby World Cup winners, the Sharks still have named an all-Springbok front row in Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch. Rahl partners Gerbrandt Grobler in the second-row, the latter starting the Challenge Cup final last week.

James Venter, Vincent Tshituka and Phepsi Buthelezi start for a second week in a row with Wright coming in at scrum-half to partner Siya Masuku.

Francois Venter takes over the captaincy duties from Etzebeth and is joined by Ethan Hooker in the centres. Werner Kok will play his final game for the Sharks on the wing ahead of his move to Ulster next season with Keyter and Aphelele Fassi completing the back-three.

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Bulls team

Meanwhile, Jake White has made just one alteration to his matchday 23 which defeated Benetton 56-35 last time out in the URC. Johan Grobbelaar moves into the starting line-up, and Akker van der Merwe takes his place among the replacements.

The Bulls have the opportunity to win the SA Shield by defeating the Sharks on Saturday and could also finish in the top two in the URC with a win.

Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse start in an all-Springbok back three with in-form star David Kriel partnering Harold Vorster in the centres. Springboks Embrose Papier and Johan Goosen complete the backline.

Ruan Nortje captains the side from the second-row, where Ruan Vermaak joins him while props Gerhard Steenekamp and Wilco Louw start either side of hooker Grobbelaar.

Finally, Chris Smith is set to earn his 50th cap for the Bulls off the bench, and he is joined by fellow backs Keagan Johannes Sebastian de Klerk, with Van der Merwe, Simphiwe Matanzima, Francois Klopper, Reinhardt Ludwig and Nizaam Carr covering the forwards.

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Sharks v Bulls line-ups

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ethan Hooker, 12 Francois Venter (c), 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 Lappies Labuschagne, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Diego Appollis

Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Sebastian de Klerk

Venue: Kings Park

Jun 01, 2024, 05:41

Stormers: 15 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Evan Roos, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Ben Loader

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Jordan Hendrikse, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Willem Alberts (captain), 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Morgan Naude
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Reinhard Nothnagel, 21 Izan Eseterhuizen, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Gianni Lombard

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby (South Africa) and Hanru van Rooyen (South Africa)
TMO: Christi du Preez (South Africa)

Jun 01, 2024, 12:41

WP 9 behind at half time in CT...12-21:'(

Jun 01, 2024, 13:07

What a score by Roos...score's level...oops, not WP leads 22-21

Jun 01, 2024, 13:19

Stormers defense is next level.

Jun 01, 2024, 13:21

Fantastic lekker 1st winter's day in CT BTW.

Jun 01, 2024, 13:27


Jun 01, 2024, 13:29

LIONS  need a bonus point win...WP needs 1 point.

Jun 01, 2024, 13:30


Jun 01, 2024, 13:31


Jun 01, 2024, 13:31


Jun 01, 2024, 13:31


Jun 01, 2024, 13:32

Bonus !

Jun 01, 2024, 13:34

29-24...lekke Manie...WP was 9 behind when they got the red...wat nou?

Jun 01, 2024, 13:48

Lions presently top 8 but will drop out if Ospreys pick up a bonus point win.

Jun 01, 2024, 16:39

Ulster doing the job against Munster ATM...

Jun 01, 2024, 17:12

7-17 @ the half...

Jun 01, 2024, 19:09

The sharks missing Eben today….Dominant Bulls pack was a bit to much today.

Jun 01, 2024, 19:24

So the quarter finals are as follows.

(QF1) Munster (1st) vs Ospreys (8th)
(QF2) Bulls (2nd) vs Benetton (7th)
(QF3) Leinster (3rd) vs Ulster (6th)
(QF4) Glasgow (4th) vs Stormers (5th)

Winner of QF1 to play winner of QF4 in semi final.
Winner of QF2 to play winner of QF3 in semi final.

Jun 01, 2024, 19:53

The Leinster vs Ulster clash will be huge. Hope Both SA teams make it.

Jun 01, 2024, 19:56

If Leinster and Bulls win, Leinster will have to travel to Loftus, might finally see a full strength Leinster in SA.

Jun 01, 2024, 20:09

If Munster and Stormers win, will Stormers have to travel?

Jun 01, 2024, 20:19

Yup Munster are top seed.

If Ospreys and Stormers where to win then Stormers would be at home, but you could argue that involves more travelling than 2 away games up North.

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