After losing all three of their matches on tour the Stormers return to Cape Town to host the Blues in Round 5 of Super Rugby on Saturday and the visitors come into the game on the back of an excellent win over the Lions last week.
Stormers v Blues, Saturday 17th March, Cape Town, KO 15:05 (South African time)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)
Weather Forecast – Cape Town
The Stormers have 1 win and 3 defeats against their name and a 3 match tour of Australia and New Zealand saw them add just 1 losing bonus point to their tally. Their only success so far came in Round 1 when they beat the Jaguaraes 28-20 at Newlands and they are fourth of 5 in the South African Conference, 10 points behind the Lions.
After the victory over Jaguares the Stormers went to Australia where a sloppy line out on the hooter led to a Waratahs try which saw the Stormers condemned to a 34-27 defeat in Sydney. After that they crossed to New Zealand where they lost to 45-28 to the Crusaders and 33-15 to the Highlanders and the pre-match handicaps have proved to be pretty accurate in all 4 of the Stormers matches so far.
In the 2017 regular season the Stormers beat the Chiefs (34-26) and the Blues (30-22) at Newlands but they did lose a subsequent meeting with the Chiefs (17-11) in the play offs. From the last 11 home games against New Zealand opposition 11 have been settled by margins of 12 points or less.
The Blues will return home after this game and their 2 match stay in South Africa got off to an excellent start with a late try giving them a 38-35 win over the Lions in Johannesburg last week. They showed great character to come back from 28-10 down in that game where they started as 9.5 point underdogs, they were 34-23 down heading into the final 6 minutes and the try count ended at 5 for each side.
The Blues now have a record of 1 win and 2 defeats and they finished Round 4 in fourth spot in the New Zealand Conference. They earned losing bonus points in their first 2 matches, going down 41-34 away to the Highlanders and 27-21 at home to the Chiefs.
Prior to last week’s win over the Lions the Blues had won just 1 of their previous 10 visits to South Africa and their last 3 at Newlands have seen the Stormers win by margins of 8,11 and 10 points.
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Justin Phillips, 23 Craig Barry
Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright/Sione Mafileo, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 George Moala
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2017 Cape Town Stormers 30-22 Blues (Tries 3-3)
2015 Cape Town Stormers 27-16 Blues (Tries 2-1)
2013 Albany Blues 18–17 Stormers (Tries 0-2)
2012 Cape Town Stormers 27-17 Blues (Tries 2-2)
2011 Auckland Blues 26–28 Stormers (Tries 2-3)
2010 Auckland Blues 21–33 Stormers (Tries 3-3)
2009 Cape Town Stormers 8-14 Blues (Tries 1-1)
The Stormers will be delighted to get back home but they come up against a side who ought to be full of themselves after last week’s win in Joburg and the Blues have attracted interest from punters on our discussion forum and they have shortened with most bookmakers.
I’m tempted by the away win but it would be no more than a tentative call as the Stormers didn’t completely roll over in the 2 recent defeats in New Zealand.
In a very tricky week which I’m handling with caution I’m looking for a speculative play on the HT/FT market with the Stormers in front at the break and the Blues finishing strongly to take the way, just as they did against the Lions in the previous round.
I’m going to try a pinch some decent units from a small stake.
Bet. 1.5 units HT/FT Stormers/Blues 11/2 BetOlimp
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum