Super Rugby preview: Stormers v Bulls
Last Updated: 12/07/13 11:13am
The Stormers have made five changes to their squad ahead of their final Super Rugby clash of the season against the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.
Results in Round 19 means the Stormers are unable to make the play-offs while the Bulls enter the final round of fixtures looking to consolidate their position at the summit of Super Rugby.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee welcomes back captain Jean de Villiers, who has missed the last two outings, as Damian de Allende drops to the bench.
Gerhard van den Heever comes in on the right as Gio Aplon makes the switch from wing to full-back as he deputises for the injured Joe Pietersen.
Fly-half Gary van Aswegen returns to join Louis Schreuder while Rynhardt Elstadt is the lone change to the Stormers pack with Don Armand included amongst the replacements.
Super Rugby weekend
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Meanwhile Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made three changes to the side which beat the Sharks 20-19 last weekend.
Francois Venter has recovered from a groin operation in time to replace Jan Serfontein in the midfield with the latter sustaining a knee injury last time out.
Jano Vermaak reclaims the number nine jersey following the injury to Francois Hougaard's ankle while Rugby Paige deputises on the Bulls bench.
Replacement lock Jacques du Plessis could make his Bulls debut against the Stormers as the 19-year-old joins the match-day squad in place of the suspended Wilhelm Steenkamp.
Ludeke's Bulls enter the final clash knowing a point will secure a home semi-final and avoid a play-off next weekend regardless of results earlier in the day.
Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Don Armand, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Damian de Allende.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Dewald Potgieter (capt), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Morné Mellet, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jürgen Visser.
What they said...
Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee
"A North South derby is always a big game, it doesn't matter that there's no pressure or that you're playing for academic reasons. There's a lot of pride at stake and we want to finish on a high.
"It's massively important for us to win this weekend. We've only lost to the Crusaders at home this year and we lost to the Bulls at Newlands in 2011, so we'd like to finish on a high and carry that momentum into the next competition."
Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter
"We did not react well in certain situations when placed under pressure last weekend and will have to improve on that.
"The Stormers have momentum and the home crowd on their side and this being the big North/South derby we will have to front up. It is fair to say that this will be our biggest test this season."