The final South African derby in Round 17 of Super Rugby sees the Cheetahs host the Bulls in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs in Bloem can be often be upset material but this season their only wins have come against struggling sides, the Sunwolves, Kings and more recently the Force. In local derby matches in Bloem the Stormers won here 20-10 early in the tournament and the 34-20 Round 12 win over the Kings is their only success against local sides. Last week the Cheetahs threatened to derail the Sharks play off hopes in Durban but they eventually went down 26-10. They did offer plenty of resistance in the first meeting with the Bulls this season, a 23-18 defeat at Loftus where the Bulls ran in three tries to the Cheetahs two.
The Bulls will know whether their play off hopes are still alive when the hooter sounds in the Sharks v Sunwolves game in Durban on Friday night. A win for the Sharks there, and it looks highly likely, will mean the Bulls can’t make it regardless of the result of this match. Adriaan Strauss is back on familiar territory for his 132nd Super Rugby cap and two changes have been made to the team that thrashed the Sunwolves in Pretoria last week with Tian Schoeman coming at 10 and Marcel van der Merwe at 3. The Bulls have won three, lost two and drawn one of their local derby matches this season. Away from home they lost to the Stormers at Newlands but they thrashed the Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 SP Marais
Head to Head (in Bloemfontein)
2015 Bloemfontein Cheetahs 20–39 Bulls
2014 Bloemfontein Cheetahs 15–9 Bulls
2013 Bloemfontein Cheetahs 25–30 Bulls
Betting– click here to bet
Handicap: Cheetahs +5.5 points, Bulls -5.5 points at 9/10 the pair.
Suggested Bet: Cheetahs +5.5 points at 9/10
This looks likely to be a dead rubber for the Bulls and that could take the edge off their game. The Cheetahs to stay within 5 points is our idea of the outcome.