28 February 2011 by Roy Barford

Super 15 rugby: South African fixtures this weekend

If you’re going to be in Johannesburg or Cape Town this weekend, you should buy yourself some Super 15 tickets before they sell out. If you make arrangements in time, you could even attend matches in both cities.

On Friday, the Lions host the Blues from Auckland at Ellis Park in Johannesburg (kick-off at 7.35pm), while in Cape Town on Saturday at 5pm the Stormers host the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein.

While the Lions have been one of the weaker super rugby teams in recent years, some sizeable investments from IT billionaire Robert Gumede, as well as expert direction from New Zealand coach John Mitchell, has given Lions’ supporters some hope. In the first 2 rounds of the tournament so far, the Lions have come close to upsetting the Bulls and the Stormers, who were the finalists in last year’s Super 14.

Players to watch in the Lions lineup include solid outside centre Waylon Murray, slippery wing Lionel Mapoe, as well as staunch hooker Bandise Maku.

The Stormers will be looking to improve on their 19-16 win against the Lions, which was their first game of the 2011 season. For the Cheetahs match, Peter Grant is likely to return at fly-half, having been eased off the bench and back into action against the Lions following a long season in Japan. This will give the Stormers backline a lot more impetus.

It is unfortunate that the captains of both the Stormers and the Cheetahs, Schalk Burger and Juan Smith respectively, are sidelined with injuries. There are, however, many other players worth watching in this local derby.

Visit the Computicket website to buy your tickets, as well as to source the cheapest flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, should you wish to watch both matches this weekend.

The above photo of Ellis Park is courtesy of legio09

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