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Stormers

Stormers Press ReleaseTiaan Liebenberg will start at hooker for the Stormers at Newlands this Saturday in the absence of injured incumbent Deon Fourie.

Fourie sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s win against the Bulls. He has been ruled out of the Stormers’ last league match against the Sharks, which is also the Cape side’s last of the season.

Coach Allister Coetzee has made no further changes to the starting XV. A victory against the Sharks this Saturday would allow the Stormers to finish the season with eight wins, and two against the South African conference champions.

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Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has conceded that there is an outside chance that his team may be without kingpin No 8 Duane Vermeulen in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands.

Vermeulen normally sits out Monday training session as part of Coetzee’s way of managing the hard working Springbok, who has played every game he has been available for at both Super Rugby and international level this year. However when he was also absent from training when the team ran at Newlands on Wednesday, it did prompt speculation that perhaps it wasn’t quite business as usual with Vermeulen this time around.

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Handré Pollard

Handré Pollard

Handre Pollard is not your typical Bulls flyhalf and when he is in control, the Bulls become a different creature all together.

Pollard has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom culminating in a starting No 10 spot for the Springboks against Scotland on the weekend.

Now, as he returns to Pretoria to get ready for his first senior match in his home province at Newlands, against the Stormers, Pollard is already causing a lot of head-scratching in the Cape.

The Bulls have always been a powerful yet predictable side, especially when it comes to the flyhalf’s role.

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Schalk Burger

Schalk Burger

DHL StormersSchalk Burger returns to the DHL Stormers line up as captain for this weekend’s match against the Bulls in Cape Town.

Burger who was in fine form for the Springboks in the June test series returns after missing the Stormers last game through injury. Springbok Sevens star Seabelo Senatla comes into the match day 22 for what looks to be his Super Rugby debut for the Cape based franchise. Senatla gets the nod due to Kobus Van Wyk not being available through injury.

Injuries have necessitated some positional shifts with Sailosi Tagicakibau lining up in the 13 jersey and Juan De Jongh will play at 12 in the absence of injured Bok newcomer Damian De Allende.

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Cell C SharksBullsStormersLionsCheetahsThe South African Conference resumes this weekend in Round 18, after watching the Australian and New Zealand franchises in action which ensured that there is likely to be only one team from the Republic in the finals.

The Sharks, long guaranteed the South African Conference, will finish in the top three while two more victories will ensure that Jake White’s team finish in the top two position and lock up a home Semi Final.

The Bulls still have an outside chance of reaching the Finals Series, but their hopes were dealt a blow with a 32-21 loss to the Lions before the June break.

The Stormers have become one of the premier spoilers in Super Rugby so far, while the Lions and Cheetahs have likely already begun planning for the Currie Cup and 2015 season.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

DHL StormersDHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee adopted a different approach to his former Springbok management colleague Jake White during the break from Vodacom Super Rugby for the June internationals.

While White had his Cell C Sharks players play club rugby in the last weeks of the break so they don’t hit the remaining phase of the season cold, Coetzee’s players haven’t played in any matches since the win over the Sharks in Durban on the last day of May. The only players to see action in June were the Springboks.

However, the Stormers shouldn’t expect to take any cobwebs into Saturday’s big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands as in the two weeks back in training after the taking the first two weeks off, the Stormers have been steadily upping the intensity in training.

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Eben Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth

Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will not feature in this year’s Super Rugby tournament after suffering another injury.

The Springbok lock has been sidelined with an ankle injury since late last year, but was looking forward to returning to action during the latter rounds of Super Rugby.

However, an official injury report released by the Stormers on Monday revealed another injury to Etzebeth.

He has a broken toe, which will keep him out of action for another 2-3 weeks.

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Tazz Fuzani

Tazz Fuzani

The Eastern Province Kings are reportedly interested in luring Western Province lock Tazz Fuzani to Port Elizabeth.

Fuzani, 23, made a promising debut for WP in last year’s Currie Cup, but appears to have fallen out of favour with WP / Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

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Patrick Cilliers

Patrick Cilliers

Brok Harris

Brok Harris

Western Province and the Stormers look likely to lose the services of props Pat Cilliers and Brok Harris.

According to reports, Cilliers is heading to French club Montpellier, while Welsh club Newport are believed to be hunting the signature of Harris.

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Schalk Burger

Schalk Burger

Western Province & Stormers Rugby stalwart Schalk Burger has signed a two-year contract with Japanese club, Suntory Sungoliath, but he will continue to be available to play for the DHL Stormers.

“First of all, I think everybody would agree with me when I say that Schalk Burger has been one of WP Rugby’s most loyal sons of the modern professional rugby era,” said WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield.

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Deon Fourie

Deon Fourie

DHL StormersThe Stormers will be without the services of hooker Deon Fourie for their Super Rugby match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

While coach Allister Coetzee on Thursday named Fourie as his starting hooker for the game at Kings Park, it has been revealed that he had to pull out due to concussion.

This means the inexperienced Stephan Coetzee moves into the starting team to face Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis, while Mike Willemse is likely to take Coetzee’s place on the bench.

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Manuel Carizza

Manuel Carizza

Argentinian lock Manuel Carizza looks set to make a return to Super Rugby after an injury-enforced lay-off from the game.

The towering second-row forward tore wrist ligaments early in the season when playing in the Stormers’ second game of the 2014 season.

He looked in fine nick at Monday’s training session at City Park, and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said he’ll be considered for the run-on XV for Saturday’s derby against the table-topping Sharks in Durban.

Wing Kobus van Wyk, one of the four try-scorers against the Cheetahs last weekend, has another wrist injury and he will possibly be sidelined for three weeks.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe Cell C Sharks returned from their Australasian tour at the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby Log while the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers continued their good home form this weekend.

The Durbanites beat the Blues for the 10th consecutive time, by 29-23, in Albany on Friday morning. They won 3 from 4 on tour Down Under, which is equal to their best tour ever in 2009, and bagged 13 Log points in Australasia, firming their grip of the top spot on the standings after 4 tough games abroad.

Later on Friday, the Vodacom Bulls were at their brutal best as they probably recorded their best win of the season when they dismantled the 2013 runners up, the Brumbies, by 44-23 at Loftus Versfeld. The score probably flattered the visitors as the side from Pretoria remained unbeaten at home this season.

On Saturday morning in Perth, the Lions fought very hard to win their final tour match, but ultimately came up short as they were beaten by 29-19 by the Force.

Round 15 came to an exciting end in Cape Town on Saturday evening when the DHL Stormers beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 33-0 in a rather one-sided match.

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SpringboksAdriaan StraussCheetahs and South Africa hooker Adriaan Strauss has been banned for three weeks for a tip-tackle, ruling him out of the Wales series.

The Sanzar duty judicial officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Strauss for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Strauss has been suspended from all forms of the game for three weeks up to and including 21 June 2014.

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Schalk Burger

Schalk Burger

Experienced flank Schalk Burger is in doubt for the Stormers’ clash against the Sharks in Durban this weekend as he continues to battle with a neck injury.

Burger injured his neck in a tackle from Coenie Oosthuizen in the Stormers’ 33-0 victory over the Cheetahs at Newlands on Saturday and will be assessed again later in the week but at this stage is considered a 50/50 chance to face the Sharks at Kings Park.

Wing Kobus van Wyk will not be considered for selection, having re-injured his wrist which has ruled him out for the next three weeks.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will miss the Castle Lager Incoming Series next month after he was ruled out for approximately eight weeks with a knee injury.

After experiencing some discomfort in his left knee on Saturday morning, De Villiers was pulled out of the DHL Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs.

De Villiers underwent a scope in Cape Town on Sunday morning and the prognosis is that he will be out of action for almost two months. He will hopefully be back by the start of Castle Lager Rugby Championship in August.

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Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers

Schalk Burger

Schalk Burger

DHL StormersVice-captain Schalk Burger and captain Jean de Villiers are both back in the DHL Stormers team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs at DHL Newlands, kick-off 17:05 SA Time.

Tickets for this weekend can be bought online at TicketPros, or from selected Spar stores or PostNet outlets/stores. Ticket prices start at R50 for standing and R80 for seating.

Burger missed last weekend’s 24-8 win over the Force, whilst De Villiers returns after a two-week lay-off.

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James Hook

James Hook

StormersCell C SharksThe Stormers and Sharks have reportedly shown interest in acquiring the services of Welsh flyhalf James Hook.

Hook, 28, is currently contracted with French club Perpignan but is expected to leave them after they were relegated from the Top 14. He has an opt-out clause in his contract which allows him the option to leave if they lose their top-flight status.

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Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe

DHL StormersSpringbok tighthead prop Frans Malherbe is unlikely to make his return to the DHL Stormers team for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.

While Jean de Villiers will definitely be back to lead the team and Schalk Burger and Sailosi Tagicakibau were both training on Monday, coach Allister Coetzee has confirmed that Malherbe was still showing symptoms of concussion the last time he was tested and will sit out the recommended full three weeks for concussion.

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Jean de VilliersThe DHL Stormers, fresh off their 24-8 win over the Force at the weekend, were further boosted on Monday with some good news in the injury department.

The Men from the Cape will host the Cheetahs in Cape Town this coming Saturday and the likes of Oli Kebble, Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Sailosi Tagicakibau will be considered for selection once again.

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Super RugbyCheetahsStormersCell C SharksSaturday’s three Vodacom Super Rugby matches involving the Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers and Toyota Cheetahs ended in a whitewash for the South African teams as they all recorded good victories.

The Cell C Sharks consolidated their spot at the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby log with a superb 30-25 victory over the in-form Crusaders in Christchurch – the first defeat for the team from Canterbury in New Zealand since 2001 against South African opposition and also the maiden victory for a team from the Republic in the Land of the Long White Cloud this season.

The Durbanites became the first South African team to ever in Christchurch since the franchise system was put in place in 1998.

It was only the second time a SA team managed to beat the Crusaders in Christchurch, when Northern Transvaal won there in 1996, and the third time out of 46 matches that the seven-time Vodacom Super Rugby champions lost at home to a team from the Republic – the Cats beat the Crusaders in Nelson in 2001.

The Crusaders also drew twice at home to teams from South Africa in the early years of Super 12, in 1996 against Western Province and in 1997 against the Sharks.

Later on Saturday afternoon, the DHL Stormers won their third successive home game of 2014 when they easily beat the high-flying Force by 24-8 in Cape Town, outscoring their visitors by three tries to one – ironically the same try count as in the Sharks/Crusaders match.

Saturday ended in ecstasy for the Toyota Cheetahs as they managed to beat the Brumbies for the first time since 2011 when they won this replay of their 2013 qualifier by 27-21, thanks mainly to a very good second half performance.

On Sunday morning, the Lions started very well against the Waratahs in Sydney, but the home team had too much left in the second half and eventually won this match by 41-13.

The Vodacom Bulls, currently second in the South African Conference behind the Cell C Sharks, had a bye this weekend.

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Peter GrantDHL StormersPeter Grant will start at flyhalf for the DHL Stormers – against the Force at DHL Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 17:05 SA Time) – in what will be his 100th match for the Vodacom Super Rugby franchise.

Grant moves from inside centre to the No 10 shirt in one of five changes to the starting line-up that went down 12-28 to the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend and will become just the third-ever DHL Stormers Super Rugby centurion.

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Demetri CatrakilisKobus van WykStormersThe Stormers have been boosted by the news that Demetri Catrakilis and Kobus van Wyk have been cleared for selection ahead of their Super Rugby match against the Western Force at Newlands on Saturday.

Catrakilis has not played since breaking his nose against the Lions on 19 April, whilst Van Wyk’s wrist injury – suffered against the Highlanders on 3 May – has healed a lot quicker than initially anticipated.

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Scarra NtubeniStormersScarra Ntubeni fractured a metatarsal in his left foot as the DHL Stormers suffered a 12-28 away defeat to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.

The Springbok tourist – who was out of action for a few weeks with a calf-muscle injury earlier in the tournament – is now set for a minimum lay-off of at least eight weeks.

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