Rugby returns with Super Fan Day‚ here are some key match-ups

Elton Jantjies of the Emirates Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on April 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Elton Jantjies of the Emirates Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on April 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

The domestic rugby season kicks back into action on Saturday with Super Fan Day at Loftus. We don’t know what the match day squads will look like‚ but these are potentially some of the more interesting match-ups.

Damian Willemse (Stormers) and Elton Jantjies (Lions) both may be Rugby World Cup gold medalists but now is the time to shine. With Handre Pollard out injured‚ the Bok No 10 jersey is up for grabs‚ so there is plenty to play for.

Jantjies occupies the inside lane but Willemse has the ability to hit exceptionally high notes when on song.

He underwhelmed at flyhalf in the early part of the season but the extended break has given him opportunity to reset.

Jantjies too possesses a bag of tricks and in a festival environment both should have licence to thrill.

Duane Vermeulen (Bulls) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks) Notshe was undoubtedly one of the form forwards in Super Rugby earlier this year.

The former Stormer has revitalised his career this year with some energetic and impactful performances from the back of the scrum and he brings power but he also has a deceptive deft offload game.

Vermeulen of course is the archetypal heavy hitting‚ hard rock No8 that is not about to take a step back‚ not even in a festival match.

We will get the first glimpse of how the decorated Springbok will respond to playing under coaching guru Jake White.

Curwin Bosch (Sharks) and Morne Steyn (Bulls) Thirteen years separate the Sharks and the Bulls pivots.

Steyn is an old dog that stays well inside his comfort zone‚ he knows what works for him and will be an integral part of providing the Bulls prime field position.

The adventurous Bosch has flourished under Sharks coach Sean Everitt this season.

He was one of the competition’s form players earlier this season and they will desperately hope the long break did not do him a disservice.

Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) and Ruan Dreyer (Lions) Kitshoff is now undoubtedly the pre-eminent loose head prop in the country after Tendai Mtawarira’s retirement.

That reputation will be put to the test by the wily Dreyer who is back at the Lions after a stint at Gloucester.

While Kitshoff is unrelentingly consistent‚ Dreyer is prone to bouts of walkabout in the scrums.

On his day the tighthead can be a handful but too often he invites the scrutiny of the referee.

Juandre Kruger (Bulls) and Hyron Andrews (Sharks) Journeyman Kruger as back for his third stint with the Bulls after a lengthy spell in France and the United Kingdom.

Apart from experience‚ he will bring vast line-out prowess to the Bulls but in Andrews he is likely to have a young and eager adversary.

Apart from being a reliable line-out option‚ Andrews increasingly throws his wiry frame around in the tight exchanges.

He impressed with his performances in the tight loose for the Sharks before Super Rugby came to a grinding halt.

He is also starting to blip stronger on the national radar.


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