With ten days to go to the Vodacom Super Hero Sunday, the four South African franchises will have final dress rehearsals this weekend against several Varsity Cup teams on Saturday.
Super Hero Sunday will take place at FNB Stadium in Gauteng on 19 January 2020, with all four SA franchises in action. The teams will play in their jerseys inspired by the Marvel characters Captain America (Vodacom Bulls), Thor (DHL Stormers), Spider-Man (Emirates Lions) and Black Panther (Cell C Sharks).
The Golden Lions already had their run against Wits yesterday (Thursday) and not much is available.
In Durban, the Cell C Sharks will test their preparations today against a Varsity Cup squad who will play against a youthful squad with some brilliant talent @ 15h00. The Russians are to test the most probable starting lineup for the Sharks at 17h00 this afternoon.
Team one vs Pukke: 15. Darren Hendrickse, 14. Lwandi Menzi, 13. Mlungwa Mapansela, 12. Le Roux Malan, 11. Llunga Mukeni, 10. Rynhardt Jonker, 9. Jaden hendrikse, 8. Pepsi Buthelezi, 7. Celimphilo Gumede, 6. Evan Roos, 5. Jordan Sesink Clee, 4. Lunga Ncube, 3. Michael Kumbirai, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Bandisa Ndlovu.
Team two vs Russia: 15. Aphelele Fassi, 14. Madosh Tambwe, 13. Jeremy Ward, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Sanele Nohamba, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Tyler Paul, 6. James Venter, 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. Le Roux Roets, 3. JH Meyer, 2. Kerron v Vuuren, 1. Ox Nche.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls will face three-time FNB Varsity Cup champions, FNB UP-Tuks, in two warm-up matches on Saturday, 11 January at the Tuks Stadium.
The Vodacom Bulls will split their extended squad across the two matches as they aim to shake off the rust and shed a few kilos of festive indulgence before the action begins against the Cell C Sharks in Round 1 on Friday, 31 January.
Kick-off is 09:00 and 11:00.
Vodacom Bulls (warm-up match 1): 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Burger Odendaal (C), 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Chris Smith, 9. Embrose Papier, 8. Muller Uys, 7. Wian Vosloo, 6. Marco van Staden, 5. Jaundrè Kruger, 4. Andries Ferreira, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 1. Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16. Louis van der Westhuizen, 17. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18. Ian Groenewald, 19. Marius Verwey, 20. Jean Droste, 21. David Coetzer, 22. Dawid Kellerman, 23. Diego Appolis, 24. Tim Agaba.
Team 1 has five Springboks in their side namely Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Embrose Papier, Marco van Staden and Juandré Kruger.
However, the inclusion of ex Matie Chris Smith ahead of Manie Libbok and Morne Steyn might raise some eyebrows. Muller Uys inclusion ahead of Josh Strauss might again fuel the argument of the wisdom of the "purchase" of ex Lions captain Josh Strauss.
Vodacom Bulls (warm-up match 2): 15. Richard Kriel, 14. Jade Stighling, 13. Marnus Potgieter, 12. Dylan Sage, 11. Divan Rossouw, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Ivan van Zyl, 8. Josh Strauss, 7. Abongile Nonkontwana, 6. Jeandre Rudolph, 5. Ruan Nortje, 4. Ryno Pieterse, 3. Mornay Smith, 2. Jaco Visagie, 1. Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16. Corniel Els, 17. Madot Mabokela, 18. Adre Smith, 19. Ewan Coetzee, 20. Marco Jansen van Vuren, 21. Morne Steyn, 22. Jay-Cee Nel, 23. Franco Naude, 24. Vaughen Isaacs.
A 28-man DHL Stormers squad will get a thorough work-out against four different teams on Varsity Day at Florida Park in Ravensmead on Saturday.
The extended squad will face University teams UCT, Maties, CPUT and a DHL WP XV as part of a festival of rugby hosted by Tygerberg RFC.
The Stormers' World Cup Boks is missing in action but an ex Bok Hilton Robberts' inclusion must a surprise. The return of the injury-prone but mega-talented Jean-Luc du Plessis will relieve the pressure on the Stormers flyhalf shortcomings.
DHL Stormers Varsity Day squad: Kwenzo Blose, Deon Carstens, Ben-Jason Dixon, Lucky Dlepu, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Schalk Erasmus, Brendon Esterhuizen, Neethling Fouche, Hannes Gous, Michal Haznar, Lyle Hendricks, Thys Kitshoff, David Kriel, Hilton Lobberts, Leon Lyons, Godlen Masimla, David Meihuizen, Matt Moore, Juan Mostert, Sihle Njezula, Sazi Sandi, Cornel Smit, Chad Solomon, Abner van Reenen, Ernst van Rhyn, Chris van Zyl, Ali Vermaak, Nama Xaba, Leolin Zas.