It’s semi-final time at Newlands!
The Stormers have put together a truly superb campaign thus far, going undefeated in only two of their 16 league matches. They’ve not scored a lot of tries – or bonus points – but their structured approach to the game and rock-solid defence have meant that they didn’t really need to, with the boot of Peter Grant often proving decisive. They come up against one of the only teams who has actually beaten them this season, though – the Sharks.
John Plumtree’s men have been to hell and back several times already this season – losing five of their first eight games and looking dead at the competition’s halfway point. They recovered well after their first bye and were pushing hard for a home knock-out before disaster struck again, wit the team losing badly against the Lions. Yet another strong resurgence has seen them win three on the trot since then, including a great away win against the Reds last week.
Today will see the two teams slug it out for 80 minutes or more to decide who will face the Chiefs in next week’s final. Kick-off is at 17h05 in the Cape Town and Australia’s Steve Walsh will be the man to kick things off at that point.
Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Jean de Villiers (Captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Deon Fourie, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16. Frans Malherbe, 17. Deon Carstens, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Don Armand, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Gerhard van den Heever
Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Louis Ludik, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel (Captain), 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Willem Alberts, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 0. Jean Deysel / Riaan Viljoen
Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Steven Sykes, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Jacques Botes, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane