The massive rivalry between the Stormers and Bulls is set to light up the United Rugby Championship (URC) fixtures this weekend when the two sides go head to head at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 7.15pm).
It is essentially a coastal double header as the Sharks host the Lions in their local derby clash at Kings Park Stadium in Durban in the earlier game kicking off at 5pm.
For the Stormers and the Bulls, they are resuming their fierce URC derby encounters that built up spectacularly over the first season of the competition.
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The Stormers won all three games last season, including the final, but they all went to the wire after they needed a last gasp try to beat the Bulls 30-26 in Pretoria, desperately held on for a 19-17 win in Cape Town and then edged a very competitive final 18-13.
It is now all set to be more of the same as the sides collide for their first meeting of the 2022/23 season.
“This fixture is brilliant for South African rugby, we all feel. I think there is a lot of spice to this game and it feels like one of the massive derbies of old again,” said Stormers coach John Dobson.
“It started when Jake (White) came in and he started rebuilding the Bulls and they won two Currie Cups, and then it’s been developing over social media and then us getting a few narrow wins last season including the final.
“So I think it’s great for South African rugby. It is clear how important this game is for the Bulls in how they have rested their main team during the Champions Cup games, and it is also extremely important to us. This rivalry is back and we are really excited.”
Sharks v Lions
For the Lions and Sharks, although not as big a rivalry, both teams will be desperate to get a win in their match.
The Lions are currently flying high in the URC and are fifth on the log, but have been unable to beat SA opposition in their last seven local derby fixtures, while the Sharks are 10th on the URC log and will want to climb back into the play-off places.
So a lot is riding on the game for both teams and a win for the Lions would put them in a fantastic position and give them a lot of confidence, while the Sharks will want to continue the good momentum built up in the Champions Cup and convert that to the URC.