March 14, 2012
Old pro ... Jean de Villiers of the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images
DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town, Saturday, 4.10am (AEDT)
Last meeting: Round 14 2011: Stormers 28-26 at Eden Park
Head-to-head: Played 15, Blues 9, Stormers 6
In Cape Town: Played 6, Blues 4, Stormers 2
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)
TV: Live, FoxSports 2
TAB Sportsbet: Stormers $1.40, Blues $2.80
Greg Growden writes: In South Africa, the Blues have found the enemy is everywhere. Last week, Blues skipper Keven Mealamu got hit by a bottle thrown by a lunatic in a Bulls jersey, who looked as if he had been on the brandy and dries. Now the Blues have to counter Newlands where the hops smell from the brewery next door can really disorientate you.
AAP writes: The fickle Blues finally came good with a road win over the Bulls last week when rookie five-eighth Gareth Anscombe scored all 29 points. But this is an even bigger test against the unbeaten South African conference leaders and the visitors lose key strike player Rene Ranger (suspended) and lock Anthony Boric (injury) while the long-term loss of Jerome Kaino remains a huge blow. They’ll be hoping Ma’a Nonu can blast some holes in the midfield but he’s up against an old pro in Jean De Villiers. Renowned for their stingy defence, the Stormers are without rugged Boks flanker Schalk Burger but have plenty of quality, especially in the backs where they regain Peter Grant as goalkicking five-eighth. The Stormers deserve favouritism at Newlands.
STORMERS: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Peter Grant, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nick Koster, Duane Vermeulen, Siya Kolisi, Andries Bekker, Eben Etzebeth, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Skara Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, De Kock Steenkamp, Nizaam Carr, Louis Schrueder, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.
BLUES: Lachie Munro, Ben Lam, Benson Stanley, Ma'a Nonu, Sherwin Stowers, Gareth Anscombe, Piri Weepu, Chris Lowrey, Daniel Braid, Luke Braid, Ali Williams, Filo Paulo, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu (capt), Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Tom McCartney, Tevita Mailau, Brad Mika, Peter Saili, Alby Mathewson, Hadleigh Parkes, Francis Saili.