Rainbow Cup South Africa reaches the fourth round stage this weekend, with another brace of rugby fixtures as the southern hemisphere standings take shape.
Tensions will run high in Durban as the Sharks and the Stormers renew their rivalry at Kings Park, following their combustible opening round game that saw the visitors just come out on top in Cape Town.
The Bulls, meanwhile, are out to extend their winning run when they make the short trip down to Johannesburg for the Jukskei Derby with the winless Lions at Ellis Park.
Rainbow Cup South Africa: Rugby predictions for 22 May
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based on publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Due to the notoriously unreliable nature of consistent statistics for rugby union fixtures, the points margin prediction will draw from a variety of sources – including Rugby Vision, Rugby4Cast and Stats Chat NZ. Additionally, because of the restricting of so many competitions, Rainbow Cup predictions won’t always use the Usual Win % metric as some other competitions do. Instead, win % of in last ten fixtures will be used.
Rainbow Cup South Africa: Sharks vs Stormers
Coastal hostilities are renewed on Saturday as the Sharks host the Stormers at Kings Park in the fourth round of Rainbow Cup South Africa action.
The pair played out a feisty encounter at the Cape Town Stadium on the opening weekend, with the men in black clinging on for victory at the death.
But they tasted a first defeat of the campaign last time out, thrashed 43-9 by the rampant Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
The Stormers sealed their first win on the same day, somehow coming away from Ellis Park with a 39-37 win over the Lions with a penalty coming after the 80 minutes were up.
JJ van der Mescht comes in at lock for the home side, who also include ex-Stormer and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi on the flank, with Thembelani Bholi returning on the opposite side of the scrum.
Another former Stormer won’t feature, though, after Sikhumbuzo Notshe was confirmed to have ruptured a patella tendon.
The away side welcome back star centre Ruhan Nel to add balance to their midfield, following his spell with the Blitzboks sevens set up ahead of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
JD Schickerling, Marvin Orie and and 2020 World Player of The Year Pieter-Steph du Toit all return to the fold for the grudge match.
Sharks Starting XV: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Werner Kok.
Stormers Starting XV: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Willie Engelbrecht, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Adre Smith, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel, 24 Marcel Theunissen, 25 Dan du Plessis.
Rainbow Cup South Africa: Lions vs Bulls
It’s Jukskei Derby time again, as the Bulls put their perfect record up against a Lions side still hunting their first win of the Rainbow Cup South Africa competition.
The visitors made it three wins from three last weekend as they thumped the Sharks 43-9 at Loftus Versfeld.
No such luck for the losing Lions, who faced the agony of defeat in added time against the Stormers, who slotted a penalty after the hooter to snatch a 39-37 success.
Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane rotate into the front row for Jake White’s side, with Elrigh Louw coming in on the flank.
Chris Smith is back in at fly-half, as James Verity-Amm earns a start on the wing.
Francke Horn’s dodgy ankle means a call up for Len Massyn at eighth man for the hosts.
Whiz kid Jordan Hendrikse is out to impress once again in the ten jersey in the absence of Elton Jantjies.
Lions Starting XV: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 André Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Manuel Rass.
Bulls Starting XV: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Stravino Jacobs.