Round three of the Pro14 Rainbow Cup SA gets underway on Saturday with focus firmly be on the clash between leaders the Sharks and second-placed Bulls at Loftus where one of them is likely to suffer their first defeat of the season.
http://Round three of the Pro14 Rainbow Cup SA gets underway on Saturday with focus firmly be on the clash between leaders the Sharks and second-placed Bulls at Loftus where one of them is likely to suffer their first defeat of the season.Both the Bulls and the Sharks go into this match on the back of two successive victories in their opening matches and they will be looking to continue with their good form as the season continues to gain momentum.
In the other match of the round, the Lions and the Stormers will be looking for their first win in their clash at Ellis Park which promises to be entertaining as they want to get their campaigns back on track after a poor start.
This competition is an opportunity for the locally based players to impress as SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber who will be selecting the team for the two Tests against Georgia in July and the British and Irish Lions thereafter.
Bulls vs Sharks
Bulls coach Jake White has drafted Springboks duo of Arno Botha and Trevor Nyakane into his match-day team that will host the Sharks in their at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
The inclusion of Botha and Nyakane at blindside flank and replacement prop sets the stage for an expected battle of epic proportions amongst the forwards in this match between the two unbeaten teams in the competition.
The Duane Vermeulen-led Vodacom Bulls have a formidable record at Loftus where they have won 12 matches in a row since going down to the Jaguares in the Super Rugby in February 2020.
They are also enjoying a good run of form with their last defeat in eight matches coming at the hands of the Sharks in Durban.
After two strong performances in the opening rounds, the Sharks lead the standings with a full-house of 10 log points and they are followed by the Bulls who have been highly impressive during Super Rugby Unlocked, Currie Cup and Preparation Series.
For the trip to Pretoria, the team of Sharks coach Sean Everitt shows one change to the match day 23 as the team continues to build momentum in playing personnel.
At the end of the halfway stage, Everitt will have been able to play an almost identical team each week, with just one change to the starting line-up for this match after retaining the same XV for the opening two matches.
Pick: Bulls Wins at 0.60 at BetXChange
Lions vs Stormers
The Lions will be looking for their first win of the competition and find some consistency as they head into their first home-game of the Rainbow Cup SA against equally struggling Stormers at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
The good news for Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen is that centre Burger Odendaal will run out to lead the team.
For the Stormers, coach John Dobson has made four changes to his starting line-up and two of those changes are in the backline and the other two are in the forward pack for the visit to Johannesburg.
Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies returns from injury in place of the injured Godlen Masimla while Edwill van der Merwe is on the wing having played off the replacements bench last week.
Willie Engelbrecht is at blindside flank in place of Pieter-Steph du Toit who is being rested this week while Ernst van Rhyn is at lock with Marvin Orie ruled out due to concussion protocols.
The Stormers have won 14 of their 21 meetings with the Lions, but have prevailed on only two of their previous six visits to Johannesburg.
Pick: Stormers Wins at 0.65 at BetXChange