Rainbow Series at back of coaches' minds in weekend's team selections

Rainbow Series at back of coaches' minds in weekend's team selections

Bulls coach Jake White has selected close to his very best team for this weekend's Preparation series match against the Stormers, stating that he needs to get the balance and combinations of his team and personnel ready for the Rainbow Cup.

He also pointed out that there is no such thing as an easy North-South match against their tradition Western Cape foes.

The Cape side have selected a very competitive outfit, but this, in contrast to the Bulls team, is nowhere near their best fifteen.

▲Likewise, the Lions and the Sharks have not selected their very best but with some fringe players included, probably to give their stars a feet-up opportunity and to find which of the also-rans are in contention for selection in the Rainbow Series.

selected close to their strongest sides, with a few fringe players also getting a run. As is the case with the Bulls, they probably want to see their near-best players in action before the Rainbow Series, nd there is no better way than to do this in a tough encounter between the second and third best sides in the Currie Cup series.

▲The Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie has selected an exciting backline and given a number of players a rare start for the match against the Pumas.

Glaring omissions are Frans Steyn and Roscoe Specman who are both on the bench in a starting team that includes former Springbok Jacques Potgieter as  ‘debutant’ at No 8.

It should be a close battle, with the continued unforced errors by the Pumas that have cost them so often in this prolonged season, probably making the Cheetahs slight favourites.

FRIDAY:

PUMAS vs CHEETAHS – MBOMBELA STADIUM, Kick-off 16:30

Pumas –
15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouché, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Francois Kleinhans, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren (captain), 4 Darien Landsberg, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naudé. Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Ruan Kramer, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Ginter Smuts, 21 Wayne van der Bank, 22 Sebastian de Klerk, 23 Phumzile Maqondwana.

Cheetahs – 
15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 Chris Smit, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Craig Barry, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jacques Potgieter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Cameron Dawson. Replacements: 16 Janus Venter, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Rosko Specman.

BULLS vs STORMERS – LOFTUS VERSFELD, 19:00

Bulls –
15 Richard Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Werner Gouws, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joe van Zyl, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements (from): 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Jan Uys, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Diego Appollis, 24 Nolan Pienaar, 25 Raynard Roets, 26 Marnus Potgieter.

Stormers – 
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Leon Lyons. Replacements (from): 16 Siybonga Ntubeni, 17 Alister Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 John Schickerling, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Evan Roos, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Chris Schreuder, 25 Cornel Smit. 

SATURDAY, MARCH 20

LIONS vs SHARKS, ELLIS PARK. KICK-OFF, 16:15

Lions –
15 Tiaan Swanepoel; 14 Ngia Selengbe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Courtnall Skosan; 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 André Warner; 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Ruan Dreyer. Replacements: Pieter Botha, Nathan McBeth, Jannie du Plessis, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Ross Cronjé, Fred Zeilinga, Dan Kriel.

Sharks – 
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Mzamo Majola. Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Emile van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Marius Louw.