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Both teams have new coaches and have lost some stalwarts to cash-flush European clubs.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said the players are happy to have put an intense pre-season behind them and can’t wait to take on their arch rivals at home.
“There is a lot of hype around the game and I think both teams embrace it and really look forward to the challenge,” Fleck said of the big north-south derby.
“It is a massive honour for me and it is humbling to be involved in this match. I can only draw confidence from our preparations and how hard we have worked, and that gives me comfort,” he said.
The Bulls have not done well at Newlands in recent times and last won in Cape Town in 2011.
They have also lost six of their last eight matches to their Cape foes.
However, coach Nollis Marais – like Fleck in his first season of Super Rugby – believes a new era is looming.
“We certainly will be up against it and could not have asked for a tougher assignment than this,” Marais said.
“This group of players have the talent to become a special team, so if they can find some continuity and momentum in the game, we will be competitive,” the coach added.
Fleck admitted to some nerves ahead of his first match as a head coach, having served as an assistant to Allister Coetzee since 2010.
However, he feels the hard work that has been put in and the quality of players and management staff around him have helped keep the butterflies at bay.
“Obviously there are a few butterflies in the stomach and there are some expectations out there, but that is only natural.
“We play for a great franchise and a great union, the players understand it and we are all very excited, I am very excited and I take huge comfort in the way we have prepared ourselves, and the players and the management around me.
“Instead of trying to run away from it, I am really looking forward to getting the season off, and even better that it is against the Bulls,” he said.
Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss is no stranger to Newlands and he is confidant the visitors from the north can overcome the odds.
“We have definite goals for the season,” Strauss said.
“This is a new team, new era and for that matter, a new competition.
“We have very skilful players and if we can guarantee them enough ball, they will score tries. We need to be competitive up front and if we are, I believe we will be in with a good chance.
“We are playing a very solid team at home though, so does not really have an option to take our best game to Newlands.”
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Leolin Zas.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, Burger Odendaal.