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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

URC derby: Bulls v Stormers — Four exciting battles to watch

It's going to be war when the north and south clash on the Loftus Versfeld turf on Saturday evening.

It will be a clash of the titans when the Bulls welcome the Stormers to a sold-out Loftus Versfeld for a United Rugby Championship encounter at 5:05 pm on Saturday.

The match promises to be one full of fireworks, as both teams will be determined to come out on top. There will be many battles on the field that will have spectators on the edge of their seats.

We look at four battles that will shape the direction of the North–South derby.

Marco van Staden v Deon Fourie

This is one battle that will be interesting to many, including the Springboks coaching staff of Rassie Erasmus and Co.

An area they will be competing in is the breakdown. Fourie is a brilliant fetcher; he can dictate the pace of the game, slow the opposition, and even win turnovers.

Van Staden also possesses similar skills and has an added element of physicality. Whoever wins this battle will give their team momentum and an advantage in key parts of the game.

Johan Goosen v Manie Libbok

In a game that’s expected to be tight and should be decided by fine margins, the flyhalves will be key.

Johan Goosen and Manie Libbok will need to manage the game for their sides; they will need to move the ball through the backline so the X-factor players can come into play.

The duo will need to have their kicking boots on as well. Both of them have proven themselves when it comes to kicking for the poles; they are accurate in their kicking for points.

Manie Libbok
Manie Libbok returns to his old stomping ground on Saturday. Picture: Grant Pitcher / Gallo Images

Johan Grobbelaar and Joseph Dweba

With over 50,000 people in the Loftus Versfeld stands, the players will need to handle pressure well. The hookers, Johan Grobbelaar for the Bulls, and the Stormers’ Joseph Dweba will feel the pressure, especially when throwing in the lineouts.

The maul will be used as an attacking outlet; its progression will rest on the shoulders of the hookers from the moment they throw to the receivers to controlling it from the back. They can have a significant impact on the game.

Johan Grobbelaar
Johan Grobbelaar of the Bulls. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

David Kriel and Damian Willemse

The two utility backs have established themselves as integral figures in the heart of their teams’ midfield. They will be tasked with providing the magic at the back.

Both David Kriel and Damian Willemse can produce something out of nothing, a true testament to their wizardry and attacking prowess.

They will be influential in both attack and defence, and at times they might have to use their big boots to kick for territory. When the game gets tight, Kriel and Willemse can be the deciding factors.

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