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Super Rugby: Bulls v Stormers match preview
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- Chiefs storm to Blues bonus
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- Highlanders hold off Lions
- Force floor the Cheetahs
- Brumbies see off Sharks
- Hurricanes punish slack Rebels
The Bulls and Stormers meet in Saturday's derby clash at Loftus Versfeld looking to make it two Super Rugby wins each on the bounce.
The hosts saw off the Cheetahs 26-21 last time, while the Stormers come into the game on the back of a 29-28 home success against the Hurricanes.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has made one change to the team that beat the Cheetahs, with JJ Engelbrecht promoted from the replacements bench to the starting line-up. William Small-Smith drops down to the bench.
Skipper Victor Matfield wants the Bulls to build on the momentum they picked up in the second half of the match against the Cheetahs.
He said: "We kept our composure and stuck to our structures, something we will need to do again against the Stormers.
"They have shown some decent form in the last couple of weeks and are playing without fear, which makes them dangerous opponents.
"As is the norm with local derbies, it will be a physical affair and the challenge for us will be to remain calm and not get sucked into the match they want us to play."
For the Stormers, veteran back-row Schalk Burger captains a much-changed and youthful side.
Coach Allister Coetzee has been forced into making six changes to the starting line-up, with three players on debut in the matchday 23 - lock Jean Kleyn, and prop Alistair Vermaak and Dylon Frylinck, who are both on the bench.
There are also six new faces among the replacements, with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Oli Kebble, Jurie van Vuuren, Michael Rhodes, Louis Schreuder, Jean de Villiers and Kobus van Wyk all dropping out with an assortment of injuries after last weekend's win.
The new players in the selection mix, either on the bench or in the starting XV, are Kleyn, Pat Cilliers, Vermaak, Martin Dreyer, Stephan Coetzee, Frylinck, Michael van der Spuy and Devon Williams, with Peter Grant, Cheslin Kolbe and Brok Harris promoted from the bench to starting roles.
Debutant Kleyn will partner Ruan Botha in the second-row, whilst UCT scrum-half Dylon Frylinck was the first-choice number nine for Western Province during the Vodacom Cup, having been promoted from the amateur ranks at the start of 2014.
Prop Vermaak - who is 25 years old - has been in the Province set-up for some time, but his game time has been limited to the Vodacom Cup only up until now.
Captain Burger, at 31, is the oldest player in the Stormers squad to face the Bulls - a 23-man group with an average age of just over 24. Cheslin Kolbe, who will make his first Super Rugby start this week, is the baby of the team at 20.
"Yes, this is a young team," agreed Coetzee, "but we have faith in the squad selected and every player has a chance to make an impact at one of the toughest venues in world rugby, Loftus Versfeld.
"We've been unlucky with injuries this week, you can't prevent concussion or broken noses and the like, but, at the same time it's an exciting moment for the likes of Jean Kleyn, Alistair Vermaak and Dylon Frylinck - all of whom will be on debut."
Don't miss any of the action on Saturday as the Bulls host the Stormers live on Sky Sports Xtra or Sky Sports 2 - Red Button from 6.10pm.
Bulls: 15 Visser, 14 Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Serfontein, 11 Basson, 10 Pollard, 9 Hougaard; 1 Greyling, 2 Visagie, 3 van der Merwe, 4 Willemse, 5 Matfield (c), 6 Ross, 7 du Plessis, 8 Hattingh.
Replacements: 16 Mbonambi, 17 Kruger, 18 Mellett, 19 J Engelbrecht, 20 van der Walt, 21 Paige, 20 Potgieter, 21 Small-Smith
Stormers: 15 Taute, 14 de Allende, 13 de Jongh, 12 Grant, 11 Kolbe, 10 Coleman, 9 Groom; 1 Harris, 2 Ntubeni, 3 Cilliers, 4 Kleyn, 5 Botha, 6 Carr, 7 Burger (c), 8 Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Coetzee, 17 Vermaak, 18 Dreyer, 19 Kolisi, 20 Fourie, 21 Frylinck, 22 van der Spuy, 23 Williams
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|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com