Focus on SA’s two front-runners' Kings Park derby

Focus on SA’s two front-runners' Kings Park derby

The two Gauteng sides are both on the road in Australasia this weekend, and from a South African perspective the big coastal Super Rugby derby between the Sharks and Stormers in Durban will provide plenty of excitement.

The Lions are the first SA team in action when they start the New Zealand leg of their tour with a clash against the high-flying Blues in Auckland, where kick-off is scheduled for 05:25 on Saturday morning (SA time).

That match is followed by the Bulls first Australasian tour match – a tough assignment against the Reds in Brisbane. Kick-off at Suncorp Stadium is at 10:15.

The big local derby at Kings Park, where the two top-performing South African teams will battle it out, kicks off at 15:05. All matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Odendaal back to captain Bulls in Brisbane

#REDvBUL

Burger Odendaal is back from injury and will lead the Bulls in their Super Rugby Australasian tour opener against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

Odendaal’s inclusion at inside centre is the only personnel change to the Bulls’ team from last weekend’s win over the Highlanders. As a result, Johnny Kotze moves back to outside centre.

Each of the last 13 Super Rugby meetings between the Reds and the Bulls have been won by the home team on the day – indeed, the Queenslanders have won their last six home games on the bounce against the men from Pretoria, with four of those wins coming by seven points or fewer.

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Lions mix things up for Auckland challenge

#BLUvLIO

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has made a host of changes to his team for their Super Rugby tour match in Auckland on Saturday, when the men from Johannesburg will be hoping to repeat the result from their away match against the Blues.

Frans van Wyk, Hacjivah Dayimani and Ruan Vermaak will get their first starts on tour, while Willem Alberts will move to lock, with Vermaak, Dayimani and Marnus Schoeman forming the new loose trio.

At the back, Manuel Rass returns to action while Jamba Ulengo has recovered sufficiently from a quad contusion to be included in the starting line-up. Tyrone Green moves to fullback.

Three of the last four Super Rugby games between the Blues and the Lions have been decided by a margin of exactly three points on the day, with the men from Johannesburg winning three of those – including a 13-10 win when they last faced the Aucklanders in New Zealand in 2015 (in Albany) – and losing one.

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Unchanged Sharks ready for Stormers’ charge

#SHAvSTO

The Sharks will field an unchanged side in their Super Rugby showdown with the Stormers at Kings Park on Saturday, as they aim to consolidate their position at the top of the overall standings.

Sean Everitt rotated his squad on tour to keep the players fresh given the demands on the KwaZulu-Natalians before their first bye, and as such he has opted to keep a winning formula as far as team selection goes by naming the same match-23.

John Dobson, Stormers head coach, followed another script though as he made several changes to his team for their trip to Durban, where the Sharks are also on a good run – they have won three of their last four games at home.

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The other Round 7 fixtures are (SA times):

Friday

08:05: Chiefs v Hurricanes – FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton

Saturday

07:35: Sunwolves v Crusaders – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Sunday

01:00: Jaguares v Highlanders – Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires

07h05: Brumbies v Waratahs – GIO Stadium, Canberra

Bye: Rebels

Issued by SA Rugby Communications