United Rugby Championship: Stormers’ big guns return for coastal derby with Sharks

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Deon Fourie Stormers v Bulls URC final 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Deon Fourie Stormers v Bulls URC final 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

The Sharks are back at Kings Park on Saturday when they host the Stormers in what should be another intense United Rugby Championship (URC) clash between two old rivals.

URC action reverts to Round One – but just for this week – as the original match, back in September last year, was postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

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The coastal derby, featuring the two South African teams looks to offer every bit of drama we’ve come to expect when these two teams meet.

South African derby

Springbok resting protocols – to manage the country’s top players in this Rugby World Cup year – have necessitated a number of changes in recent weeks, including Saturday’s match.

Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell has made two changes to the front-row, Ntuthuko Mchunu replacing Ox Nche and Carlü Sadie coming in for Thomas du Toit with the rest of the pack that served the team so well last week remaining in place.

Cameron Wright gets a start at scrum-half for the injured Grant Williams while Rohan Janse van Rensburg is back in the side, playing at inside centre with Ben Tapuai shifting to outside centre in place of Francois Venter.

In Stormers team news, experienced flanker Deon Fourie will captain the side in Durban on Saturday, a line-up which has been boosted by the inclusion of a number of key players for the coastal clash.

In the backline, wing Seabelo Senatla makes his return from injury, while full-back Clayton Blommetjies, inside centre Dan du Plessis, fly-half Manie Libbok and scrum-half Herschel Jantjies all join him in the starting line-up.

Up front hooker Joseph Dweba, prop Neethling Fouche and Fourie all come back after resting last week, while lock Gary Porter returns from injury to partner Ruben van Heerden in the second-row.

Marcel Theunissen will be at the back of the scrum, with Junior Pokomela back in the mix at blindside flank.

There is a potential Stormers debut for loose forward Keke Morabe, who is joined on the replacements bench by two backs in Paul de Wet and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

The teams

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe

Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park
Kick-off: 14:00 local (12:00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: Crunch time for defending champions the Stormers

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