Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
|82||J. D. Plessis|
Fresh off two impressive home wins, the Stormers will take on the Lions in Johannesburg. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 12:05am (AEDT).
If there was a most improved award after two weeks, the Stormers would’ve won it. Their 27-point dismantling of the Hurricanes raised eyebrows, before they followed it up with a clinical 13-0 win against the Bulls. Last year the Cape Town locals beat every one of their South African conference rivals, and this year they’re one out of one and go into this game as heavy favourites.
Already a contender for top spot this year, with two home games to follow this one, they could easily be unbeaten heading into their Round 6 bye.
As for the Lions, they kicked off their season with the Jaguares in Buenos Aires – one of SR’s toughest assignments – but fell away in the second half, eventually losing 38-8. They rebounded last week with an edgy 27-20 victory against the Reds.
This game is important for them. While you could argue that any momentum they gain from a win would be neutralised by the upcoming bye week, they need to improve the wins column ahead of their trans Tasman tour. Not to mention that a convincing win against the competition ladder-leaders could entice some fans back after a poor turnout against Queensland.
In team news, John Dobson has made three changes. Herschel Jantjies, who played well last week, will sit this one out with injury, as will Jaco Coetzee. Godlen Masimla and Juarno Augustus come into the side instead, which pushes Johan du Toit to openside flank. Frans Malherbe drops to the bench, instead Wilco Louw comes into the team.
JD Schickerling and Paul de Wet come onto the bench.
The hosts feature just one change to the starting XV, as Manuel Rass comes in for Duncan Matthews, who has been dropped altogether. Dylan Smith will play his 50th Super Rugby game. Willem Alberts didn’t look likely to play, but will wear 20. Hacjivah Dayimani is back from injury, and Wandisile Simelane will appear at 23.
The Lions pose a bigger threat to the Stormers than the Bulls or Hurricanes did, especially at home. You can expect John Dobson’s men to concede their first points this year. That being said, the Stormers boast a strong, settled and in-form line-up to this game, and you’d expect them to claim an away victory.
Stormers by 12.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 12:05am (AEDT).
Time: 12:05am (AEDT)
Venue: Emirates Airline Park
TV: Fox Sports
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Odds: Lions $2.64, Stormers $1.51
Dylan Smith, Pieter Jansen, Jannie du Plessis, Ruben Schoeman, Marvin Orie, Marnus Schoeman, Vincent Tshituka, Len Massyn, Morne van den Berg, Elton Jantjies (c), Courtnall Skosan, Dan Kriel, Manie Rass, Tyrone Green, Andries Coetzee. Reserves: Jan-Henning Campher, Sti Sithole, Carlu Sadie, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Willem Alberts, Hacjivah Dayimani, Dillon Smit, Wandisile Simelane.
Steven Kitshoff (c), Scarra Ntubeni, Wilco Louw, Salmaan Moerat, Chris van Zyl, Johan du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Damian Willemse, Seabelo Senatla, Jamie Roberts, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen, Dillyn Leyds. Reserves: Chad Solomon, Ali Vermaak, Frans Malherbe, JD Schickerling, Cobus Wiese, Ernst van Rhyn, Paul de Wet, Jean-Luc du Plessis.