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Super Rugby Preview: Blues v Stormers

Thursday, March 28, 2019    Lynn McConnell    

For the Blues it is another chance to show overdue winning consistency while the Stormers are looking for a key win on tour.

Match Details: Blues v Stormers, Eden Park, 7.35pm, March 30, 2019.

Played: 20
Won: Blues 10, Stormers 10
Last time: Blues 20-37 Stormers, Cape Town, March 17, 2018
Referee: Nick Briant

FORM

After a two-point loss (22-24) to the Crusaders in their opening game, the Blues lost to the Sharks away (7-26) and the Jaguares (19-23) before returning home to beat the Sunwolves (28-20) and the Highlanders (33-26). The Stormers suffered a crushing loss to the Bulls (3-40) in their opening game before winning three in a row against the Lions (19-17), the Sharks (16-11a) and the Jaguares (35-8). They lost the first game of their Australasian tour last week to the Hurricanes (28-34).

CONTRAST IN STYLES

Differences between the respective approaches taken by the Blues and Stormers could not be more obvious in their statistics. The Blues lead the Super Rugby competition in carries made with 138.2 while the Stormers are 11th with 104.2. And in metres made the Blues are fourth with 426 while the Stormers are last with 283.4. The visitors are also last in clean breaks with 4.6 while the Blues are ninth with 9.0. The Blues have beaten 26.8 defenders while the Stormers have beaten 17.2. The Stormers lead the competition in kicks from the hand, averaging 25.4 compared to 15.0 for the Blues. The Blues also have fewest missed tackles with an average of 16 while the Stormers have 19.0.

STORMERS RING CHANGES


Six changes have been made by the Stormers. Damian Willemse will start at fullback while Dillyn Leyds has moved to the left wing. Dan du Plessis will be back at centre. In the pack rotational changes have seen Jaco Coetzee named at No.8 and Wilco Louw at tighthead. Eben Etzebeth returns at lock. JD Shickerling has returned to Cape Town as a result of his shoulder injury. Fellow lock Salmaan Moerat wasn't considered due to concussion. Coach Robbie Fleck said the team was determined to be clinical at Eden Park. "We have got great energy among the group and the players are all keen to get out there and show what we are capable of, so we are looking forward to. It will be important for us to be composed and focused as we look to keep improving and building our game."

THE SCOOP

The Blues have won 14 of their last 17 games at home against overseas teams and their record of only 16 missed tackles per game is the best of any team in the competition.

FAST FACT

The Stormers have won six of their last seven games against the Blues, the last three in succession. Neither side has ever won more than three games in a row against the other.

TEAMS:


Blues:
1.Alex Hodgman, 2.James Parsons, 3.Sione Mafileo, 4.Patrick Tuipulotu, 5.Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6.Tom Robinson, 7.Blake Gibson, 8.Akira Ioane, 9.Jonathan Ruru, 10.Otere Black, 11.Rieko Ioane, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.TJ Faiane, 14.Tanielu Tele'a, 15.Melani Nanai.

Substitutes: 16.Matt Moulds, 17.Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18.Ofa Tuungafasi, 19.Scott Scrafton, 20.Dalton Papalii, 21.Augustine Pulu, 22.Harry Plummer, 23.Sonny Bill Williams.

Stormers: 1. Steve Kitshoff, 2.Bongi Mbonambi, 3.Wilco Louw, 4.Eben Etzebeth, 5.Chris van Zyl, 6.Siya Kolisi (captain), 7.Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8.Jaco Coetzee, 9.Hercelle Jantjies, 10.Jean-Luc du Plessis, 11.Dillyn Lleyds, 12.Damian de Allende, 13.Daniel du Plessis, 14.Sergeal Peterson, 15.Damian Willemse.

Substitutes: 16.Scarra Ntubeni, 17.Corne Fourie, 18.Frans Malherbe, 19.Cobus Wiese, 20.Jaunro Augustus, 21.Justin Phillips, 22.Josh Stander, 23.SP Marais.