Now this is were things gets interesting this weekend. The Stormers and Sharks are fighting to stay alive in the competition and by the time they run onto the field both may even make into the playoffs.
With such a close contest for the wold card spots this season everyone have to pull one out of the fire this weekend if they want to progress.
With the Lions and Bulls game after the clash at Newlands both the Sharks and Stormers will have to put everything in this one to make sure they do not depend on one of the other to get them through.
A win either way will secure a spot for so that will be the goal in this match.
Both sides have been inconsistent and with some crucial injuries in both sides for this match it may be a close affair as well.
Both sides still have quality in their match day squads so I do expect another epic battle between the two coastal sides.
Gunning of a bonus point would force them to go out in an attacking mindset which could see some tries from the two sides who has not been scoring too much of late.
The Sharks have the Beats back for this match after a long injury layoff which will give them a huge improvement at scrum time. Beast will also bring a much needed go forward ball as he likes to get involved with ball in hand.
With Beats back, Majola will move to the bench. We also see Van Heerden coming in with the injury to Botha.
In the backline Fassi comes in for the injured Bosch at fullback with Robert Du Preez at ten.
With Burden out again Collopy gets a chance with Koegelenberg covering on the bench.
Robie Fleck has made four changes to his backline for the clash which sees Jano Vermaak coming in for the injured Jantjies.
De Allende also return to the midfield and will be combining with JJ. Senatla also return to wing.
Upfront we have Bongi that will be going down in the front row with Malherbe and Kitshoff. Kitshoff will also lead the team again this weekend with the absence of Kolisi.
It is going to be one hell of a battle in the forwards. Expect the team dominating the set piece to have the upper hand on the scoreboard as well.
There is enough firepower in both backlines but they need to get quality ball.
If the Sharks pitch up for the game we should them see coming out with the win but the way they have underperform this season does not make it a given.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Stormers have won their last two games on the bounce against the Sharks in Super Rugby; the last time they won more was a three-game streak against them across the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
- The Stormers have lost only one of their last eight games played at home in Super Rugby (W6, D1), and are undefeated in their last four (W3, D1).
- The Sharks picked up a 42-5 win over the Lions in their last South African derby away from home in Super Rugby, snapping a seven-game losing run in such fixtures.
- The Stormers have scored only 14 first-half tries thus far in Super Rugby 2019, fewer than any other team in the competition.
- The Sharks’ Andre Esterhuizen has scored a try in two of his last three games away from home after having not crossed in any of his 33 away games prior.
Prediction: The Sharks should take this by 12, but I am in the middle on this one.
Stormers:15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak1, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Dan Kriel
Sharks:15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Tendai
Replacements: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Rhyno Smith