DHL Stormers 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby fixtures:

Saturday, February 1 (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Hurricanes at DHL Newlands

Saturday, February 8 (Kick-off: 17h15)
v Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands

Saturday, February 15 (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park

Saturday, February 22 (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Jaguares at DHL Newlands

Saturday, February 29 (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Blues at DHL Newlands

Saturday, 14 March (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Cell C Sharks at Jonnson Kings Park

Saturday, March 21 (Kick-off: 21h40)
v Jaguares at Estadio Jose Amalfitani

Saturday, March 28 (Kick-off: 17h15)
v Rebels at DHL Newlands

Saturday, April 4 (Kick-off: 15h05)
v Waratahs at DHL Newlands

Saturday, April 18 (Kick-off: 17h15)
v Cell C Sharks at DHL Newlands

Saturday, April 25 (Kick-off: 09h05)
v Chiefs, venue TBC

Saturday, May 2 (Kick-off: 06h45)
v Crusaders, Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch

Saturday, May 9 (Kick-off: 11h15)
v Brumbies, venue TBC in Canberra

Saturday, May 16 (Kick-off: 06h45)
v Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo

Saturday, May 23 (Kick-off: 17h15)
v Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands

Saturday, May 30 (Kick-off: 17h15)
v Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld

New Time on Saturday for On the couch on HEART 104.9fm 9- 10am

Take Tapfuma Makina and Heart 104.9FM on a Saturday morning. Add Martin Myers and someone known only as Flapper and you have On The Couch, # OTC a witty and crazy sports-themed show. It is 60 minutes of laughs, non-facts and facts and food for thought.

Initiated by Myers and then Saturday on-air DJ the late Az Abrahams , Heart 104.9 soon realised that there was such a thing as power in numbers, and Flapper joined the team.

Today the passionate and sports mad trio — an accountant, a music industry veteran and a music DJ — make for fun radio. The show ran from 8-9am for many years and now we have moved one hour latter .

From just after 9am through to 10am the phone lines light up as Heart listeners get to tackle the fanatical Flapper, referee Tapfuma and the ever-controversial Martin on everything from try-lines to balls.

Tapfuma is soccer mad , Myers follows suit with his unashamed love of the All Blacks, whilst Flapper can’t be challenged on his cricket and golf knowledge.

Alistair Coetzee -DHL Stormers coach with the team

Everything about On The Couch is entirely off the cuff and therein lies its spontaneity and in turn its success.

With Tapfuma keeping the lines open throughout the show and a little bit of music to dilute the talk, the subject matter is relevant to the sports issues of the day — a mixture of good clean fun and addressing controversial issues.

With international sport well covered, these three wise men are hungry to expose and celebrate the best of what the country has to offer in up-and-coming talent and teams, no matter what the sport or discipline.

Dr Danny Jordaan CEO of SAFA

The trio don?t play by the rules, only because they spend more time on the bench than on the field, making On The Couch everything but formatted — instead it’s fun, entertaining and downright silly at times.

A tough one to call between the Stormers and the Sharks at Newlands today .

A tough one to call. That is the general prognosis on the return Super Rugby match between the Stormers and the Sharks at Newlands today .

The problem with this fixture is that both sides have an injury toll edging into double figures and so it is difficult to evaluate just how good each team is, because they are not at full strength.
The key to this match lies with the cerebral and mental rather than the physical. The Stormers will feel that they HAVE to win this match while the Sharks are not as desperate and would certainly like the points but do not have a gun to their heads.

That is the challenge for the Sharks tomorrow … can they match the hunger of the Stormers? The Stormers have lost four of their six matches to date and their last two, which were big games against the Crusaders and Cheetahs and both were lost by the narrowest of margins. They are at home and next week have a bye before heading off on tour. They can afford to throw the kitchen sink at this one and as far as making the top six (and the play-offs) is concerned they are pretty much in the Last Chance Saloon.

Do the Sharks need the win as much? If you look at the overall log the answer is no, but that is not what the coaching staff will be telling the players. The Sharks are top of the SA Conference and third overall, are playing an away match and still have a home match next week (against the Cheetahs) before they go on tour.

They could afford to drop this one, beat the Cheetahs and then see how many points they could harvest in four matches overseas.

Of course, coach John Plumtree sees it very differently. His viewpoint is that the Sharks have two matches in South Africa before they tour and they have to bank as many log points as possible before away matches to the Chiefs, Highlanders, Reds and Force. And with the Cheetahs on a roll and the Stormers desperate, there are no “gimmees” for the Sharks before they fly out a week on Sunday.

Again, it comes down to whether the Sharks can match the mental space that the Stormers will be in. It is hard to predict how well the Stormers will play with 13 players out, including two first choice flyhalves in Elton Jantjies and Peter Grant, but it is certain that they will try and move heaven and earth to get the victory.

This week, Plumtree acknowledged that this is precisely what the game will come down to.

“We have a good team with some good leaders, and so have the Stormers, so it’s about the side that puts it all together on the day, maybe takes their opportunities or defends better, or manages to get their set piece to operate better. It will be all about attitude, the team that has 15 players pulling 100 percent in the right direction.”

The Sharks are yet to put in a complete performance this year. They have been good for 40-minute periods in various games but have not played well in both the first and second halves of any game, apart from the rout of the Rebels at Kings Park. It has been one half or the other.

“I’m happy in some areas that we are building towards that 80-minute performance, and we’re working hard on the rest,” Plumtree said. “We’ve shown bits and pieces on attack but we haven’t shown enough. Defensively we’ve been pretty good at times and our set-piece is operating well. We’re winning close games and only lost one game despite heaps of injury problems. We’re battling away. That’s what I want this team to keep doing. When times are tough it’s all about digging deep and working hard for each other, and that is what is going to be required if we are to have a good chance of beating the Stormers.”

Stormers: Joe Pietersen, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (captain), Gio Aplon, Gary van Aswegen, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Michael Rhodes, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, De Kock Steenkamp, Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Pat Cilliers, Gerbrandt Grobler, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Cheslin Kolbe.

The Sharks: Frans Steyn, Sean Robinson, Paul Jordaan, Meyer Bosman, JP Pietersen, Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Keegan Daniel (captain), Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jannie du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Anton Bresler, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane.

Referee: Craig Joubert

by Mike Greenaway

DHL Stormers v Waratahs Preview

If the DHL Stormers can replicate their performance from last year when their first visitors from Australia arrived in Cape Town, the Waratahs are in for a long night at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

Last year, the Force were the first Australian visitors to Newlands and they got hammered, by 51-16. The DHL Stormers have not hosted an Aussie side yet this year and they wouldn’t mind dishing out the same sort of punishment to the Waratahs.

But the teams from Perth and Sydney are vastly different, although both of them have failed to set rugby fields on fire this season. The Force got smashed in Durban last weekend and the Waratahs lost in Sydney to the Vodacom Bulls.

In fact, in 14 matches between teams from South Africa and Australia thus far this year, the Aussies have won only three – the Brumbies beat the MTN Lions and the Toyota Cheetahs and the Waratahs got the better of The Sharks.

And while they have been the most successful side this season, losing only once in their first 10 games, the DHL Stormers have struggled for consistency when scoring tries. They’ve notched up 17, with only the MTN Lions’ 15 tries less than that of the Capetonians.

This is what DHL Stormers captain Jean de Villiers had to say about the apparent try scoring drought in Cape Town: “We are conscious of the fact that winning is more important than the way that you play. A couple of years ago we would have given anything just to get a couple of wins on the trot, so I think that we are happy with where we are. We know that we are not the finished product yet.”

De Villiers also warned that the Waratahs could be a difficult opponent this weekend.

“They are not lying too good on the log so it is a bit of a must-win situation for them, but they are a quality side,” said De Villiers. “They do the basics really well, they have got a really good first-phase, a good defence and they can score tries as well.”

Head to head (since 1998)

DHL Stormers Waratahs
8 Won 5
5 Lost 8
1 Drawn 1
306 Points for 283
283 Points against 306
31 Tries scored 29
29 Tries conceded 31

DHL Stormers v Waratahs

Date: 19 May

SA Time: 19:10

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Richie McCaw says he’s ready to play whatever role the Crusaders require of him this week

Richie McCaw says he’s ready to play whatever role the Crusaders require of him this week as his team continues its remarkable Super Rugby journey with a semifinal visit to the Stormers in Cape Town.

McCaw confirmed at Nelson airport before boarding the first plane of many over the next few days that he’s available for selection, that his problem foot is ready for what should be a clash of test-match intensity and that he’s confident in his ability to slot in, after a couple of weeks of inactivity.

“It feels all right,” said the All Blacks captain. “It’s still not quite 100 percent but it’s certainly a lot better than it was last time I played. Having those couple of weeks off was the right thing to do. Training last week was pretty much symptom free, so I just need to get through the games now.”

The openside flanker, who will reassume the Crusaders captaincy if Todd Blackadder picks him to start, said he put himself through a rigorous week of training to prove his readiness for this week. He then had a nervous 80 minutes watching from the coach’s box at Trafalgar Park on Saturday night to see if his team-mates could keep their season alive.

They obliged in some style, running away from the Sharks over the second 40 of the semifinal qualifier to secure a commanding 36-8 victory. That earned the Crusaders one more massive road trip that will take their mileage for the season past the 100,000km mark.

The Crusaders returned to Christchurch this morning and then had time only to say their goodbyes to family and friends at the airport before boarding a flight to Sydney where they were to complete their recovery process and stay overnight.

From there they were on an early Monday flight through to Johannesburg, and then a short transfer south to the coastal city of Cape Town where the well-rested Stormers are waiting after their weekend off.

But McCaw said one more long trip on the never-ending tour that has been the Crusaders’ historic quake-ravaged season would be nothing his men couldn’t handle.

“We’ve done it enough times and that’s just the reality of what you’ve got to do to win the thing,” said the classy flanker of the big haul to the Republic. “We’re going to go over there expecting to do well and do the job. If you go over with an out you won’t [win]. That’s the way we’ll approach it. We’ve done that all year, we’ve been all over the place and not used any of that as an excuse and this week will be no different.”

“I don’t know what Todd’s plan is this week but I’ll certainly put my name in the mix,” he said. “I suppose the one thing is I’ve done it before. I’ve just got to get out there and get stuck in. I’m just lucky I’m available before the season’s finished. That’s exciting and now I’ve just got to get into it.”Luckily for the Crusaders the vastly experienced McCaw – he has played 94 tests – is exactly the sort of player who will handle slotting back into a winning team at such a vital stage of the season.

With Sonny Bill Williams and Sean Maitland both coming through their return matches against the Sharks unscathed (Williams required a few stitches afterwards following a cut to his hand) and McCaw now added to the mix, the seven-time champions are all but at full strength for a remarkable 10th straight semifinal appearance.

“We take a wee bit of confidence in that but you’ve got to do the job now and it’s not going to be easy,” added McCaw as his men looked to repeat their round-robin victory at Newlands. “They’ll be hurting from what happened that first time, they’ve had a week off to freshen up, and we’ve just got to make sure we meet their physicality. That’s what we did last time and how we got on top.”

McCaw said physicality was the hallmark of the Stormers but by no means their only attribute.

“They’ve got some ability to play and you saw when they came on the tour over here they played pretty good rugby – pretty efficient is probably the way I’d describe it.

“They’re a big forward pack, they get some go-forward and put the ball at the right end of the field, and they’re happy to do it in threes if need be. It’s going to be a good challenge but they’re a team if we get stuck into them, there are opportunities there too.”

The 30-year-old said he had been impressed with the second half in Nelson, where key corrections were made in areas such as the breakdown and on defence, but that an 80-minute effort would be needed this week.

And with the loose trio going well, led by a brilliant display at Trafalgar Park from Kieran Read at No 8, McCaw is aware he has high standards to live up to.

Luckily for the Crusaders he’s just the man to take that challenge on.

– Fairfax Media


Allister Coetzee was today forced to name a side to take on the Blues in Auckland with a number of senior players out to injury.

The centre pairing of Jaque Fourie and Jean De Villiers are both out with a groin strain and chest muscle injury respectively. Whilst Jean De Villiers is consulting a specialist, Jaque Fourie is expected to be fit for next week’s match against the Brumbies. De Villiers and Fourie are replaced this week by Juan De Jongh and Johann Sadie. “Sadie is an out an out 13 and can also cover wing, whilst Juan can play both 12 and 13.” Said Allister Coetzee. “Whilst they do not have much experience together as a combination, Juan is an international and Sadie has that x factor. The players and team are excited about the possibilities.” Added the coach.

In other changes Peter Grant who has not recovered from an ankle strain is replaced by Lionel Cronje. Grant is expected to be available next week again for selection. In a tactical change CJ Van Der Linde replaces Brok Harris who moves to the bench.

A 5/2 bench split has been selected with the possibility of on and off rain on the weekend. Danie Poolman covers wing and Duvenage 9 and 10. Nick Koster also returns from injury in jersey 22.

“The Blues are playing great rugby and top their conference at the moment. It’s going to be a big game and despite the injury concerns we are focussed, motivated and excited as a team.” Said Coetzee.

The game kicks off at 09h35 on Friday.

The team to play is:

15. Conrad Jantjes

14. Gio Aplon

13. Johann Sadie

12. Juan de Jongh

11. Bryan Habana

10. Lionel Cronje

9. Ricky Januarie

8. Duane Vermeulen

7. Francois Louw

6. Schalk Burger (Capt)

5. Andries Bekker

4. Rynhardt Elstadt

3. CJ van der Linde

2. Deon Fourie

1. Wicus Blaauw


16. Tiaan Liebenberg

17. Brok Harris

18. Steven Kitshoff

19. Anton Van Zyl

20. Dewaldt Duvenage

21. Danie Poolman

22. Nick Koster

Referee: Steve Walsh

Friday09h35 (SA Time) Blues VS DHL Stormers

Blue Monday in the no longer so-cock-a-hoop Cape. The Crusaders, minus a host of key players, came, saw and conquered

It is indeed a strange old game. Last week, thethe remorseful Sharks worked themselves into a frenzy of self-flagellation as they sort to redeem themselves against the Brumbies after their submission to the Stormers. It was all doom and gloom in Durban and the sack cloth and ashes were not far off.

But a week later it is Blue Monday in the no longer so-cock-a-hoop Cape. The Crusaders, minus a host of key players, came, saw and conquered, while in Durban the initially shaky Sharks shook off first-half jitters to blow away the Brumbies 34-16 and end the weekend just three points short of the Stormers when most had predicted the Cape team would beat the Cantabrians and maintain an eight-point cushion over their KZN rivals.

Mind you, during a diabolical first half at Kings Park, the Sharks were nose-diving to the ocean floor before getting their fins back onto the surface in a second half that was as impressive as the first half was dire.

“Frustration was our biggest enemy,” coach John Plumtree said. “At half-time the message was to relax and keep our cool while maintaining the intensity that had been there all along. We had been doing a lot of good things only to undo them and, to be fair, the Brumbies’ defence had been exceptional in the first half.”

Plumtree had told his players that the only way to exorcise the demons of Newlands was for the players to work hard for each other and to restore their pride.

“It was tough after losing to the Stormers,” he said. “The boys are really proud and we felt that we had let people down. At the best of times it is hard enough when you lose but the rivalry between the Stormers and the Sharks makes it difficult to pick yourself up and even by Thursday last week the guys were still down.”

Plumtree said the Crusaders’ performance in beating the Stormers was nothing short of incredible.

“It is frightening what they did given that they played most of that game short of eight first-choice players. It shows their character. When the pressure comes on against a tough team such as the Stormers they just pick up their intensity, they dig deeper. It is about the history of their jersey.”

The Crusaders lost three players in half an hour at Newlands, and with Dan Carter and Richie McCaw on the sidelines their injuries are adding up, but with a number of players due to return over the next month, it is difficult to see the Crusaders failing to win the 2011 title.

“It just shows you how tough this competition is in the collisions,” Plumtree said. “The side that has best depth in their squad will go through and be the strongest in play-offs. There are still six rounds to the play-offs , so eight matches to the final – that is huge when you think about it.”

The Sharks’ next match is against the Bulls at Kings Park on May 21.

by Mike Greenaway

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