Schalk expecting titanic battle

PUBLISHED: June 8, 2011

There is always a great sense of anticipation around the Cape when the DHL Stormers or WP face off against the Bulls.

This weekend is no exception with DHL Newlands already sold out for the big Vodacom Super Rugby clash.

The excitement was there for all to see at the High Performance Centre this week, where several DHL Stormers fans came out to watch the team train ahead of the North-South derby. Captain Schalk Burger has seen his fair share of these games and knows the significance of this fixture particularly with Vodacom Super Rugby coming towards the business end.

“The game is important for both sides as we are both playing for places in the Final Series. It is vital for both sides to get a victory. There is always major emotion in these types of games, but we know we need to keep that under control and look to continue playing the good rugby that we have managed over the last few weeks.

“It will be a titanic battle and we will need to be on our game for the full 80 minutes on Saturday.”

The last time these two sides met, the DHL Stormers ran out victors in a historic clash at Loftus. The Captain, however is not reading much into that result. He said: “I think both sides have progressed since that game. The Bulls did not get off to the start this season that they might have expected, but they are playing well at the moment. Once they get their tails up they are a difficult side to beat with a very determined group of players.

“There is no doubt it will be a difficult proposition, but we are just focussing on our own game. We are second on the log and we want to stay in the top 2 so it is vital for us to continue playing the good rugby we played overseas and to put another good performance in at home.”

Coach Allister Coetzee named a strong side on Wednesday with Deon Fourie and Andries Bekker returning to the starting line-up. Unfortunately Peter Grant and CJ van der Linde both were unable to regain their fitness, but scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage does return onto the bench.

The coach is looking forward to another big derby on Saturday: “The team is in a good space and we will be looking to continue improving on our performance against the Bulls. There is no underdog or favourite in this clash and with Newlands sold out we are really looking forward to the clash.

For the game we will need to pitch up and get our plan right if we want to win. We know what is required, but it is now up to the players to execute them on the day.”

With so much at stake, make sure you are ready for what promises to be another epic encounter between these two old rivals.

DHL Stormers team: Conrad Jantjes, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Kurt Coleman, Ricky Januarie, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger (captain), Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, Wicus Blaauw. Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Anton van Zyl, Nick Koster, Dewaldt Duvenage, Juan de Jongh.