After a quick Test break of almost three weeks, we return to Super Rugby with just the four games this round, all from the South African conferences.
Saturday, July 1
Sharks v Bulls, Growthpoint Kings Park, Durban 3:00am (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Bulls are yet to win away from home this season, enduring a six-game losing streak on the road.
The Bulls are undefeated in their last four games against the Sharks, though the two were inseparable when their most recent meeting ended in a 16-16 draw.
Sharks: Curwin Bosch; Odwa Ndungane, S'bura Sithole, Andre Esterhuizen, Sbu Nkosi; Garth April, Cobus Reinach; Daniel du Preez, Tera Mtembu, Philip van der Walt; Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen; Coenie Oosthuizen, Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit. Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Juan Schoeman, Lourens Adriaanse, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Michael Claassens, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw.
Bulls: Warrick Gelant, Duncan Matthews, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Kefentse Mahlo, Tony Jantjies, Rudy Paige, Nic de Jager, Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Steenkamp, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins, Conraad Van Vuuren, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Pierre Schoeman. Reserves: Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka, Johnroy Jenkins, Shuan Adendorff, Renaldo Bothma, André Warner, Burger Odendaal, Tian Schoeman.
South Africa Under-20 star Curwin Bosch will start at fullback for the Sharks, who will also have Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen at tighthead for the clash, but veteran loosehead Tendai Mtawarira and flank Jean-Luc du Preez have been given the week off following their international commitments.
The Bulls will welcome back a host of in-form Springboks and South Africa 'A' players for their clash against the Sharks on Friday night. Boks Jesse Kriel and Jan Serfontein will combine in the centres, while Rudy Paige takes over at scrumhalf. Fullback Warrick Gelant also found his touch for the SA 'A' side after scoring a hat trick against the French Barbarians.
Jaguares v Southern Kings, Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires 9:05am (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Jaguares have lost their past two games on home soil; never before have they lost more in succession at home.
The Jaguares have led at half-time in each of the previous three meetings between these teams, going on to win twice.
Jaguares: Joaquín Tuculet, Matías Moroni, Matías Orlando, Bautista Ezcurra, Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolás Sánchez, Martín Landajo (c), Leonardo Senatore, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Pablo Matera, Matías Alemanno, Guido Petti, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julián Montoya, Lucas Noguera Replacements: Roberto Tejerizo, Santiago García Botta, Enrique Pieretto, Ignacio Larrague, Rodrigo Báez, Gonzalo Bertanou, Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, Santiago Cordero
Kings: Malcolm Jaer, Wandile Mjekevu, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Cronjé (captain), Louis Schreuder, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, Chris Cloete, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Irne Herbst, Ross Geldenhuys, Michael Willemse, Mzamo Majola. Reserves: Martin Bezuidenhout, Schalk Ferreira, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Ungerer, Masixole Banda, Yaw Penxe.
Kings coach Deon Davids has made five changes to his starting line-up. In the backline, Wandile Mjekevu will start at right wing, while captain Lionel Cronjé is back at flyhalf. Andisa Ntsila is back at No 8, which sees Tyler Paul move to flank. In the front row, loosehead prop Mzamo Majola earns his first start, while Michael Willemse will wear the No. 2 jersey.
The Jaguares will be without skipper Agustin Creevy this week with Julian Montoya starting at hooker. He is joined in the front-row by Lucas Noguera and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro while Guido Petti and Matias Alemanno make up the lock pairing. Martin Landajo skippers the side from half-back while Emiliano Boffelli and Matías Moroni replace Jerónimo De la Fuente and Ramiro Moyano.
Cheetahs v Stormers, Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein 11:05pm (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Stormers have won their past four games against the Cheetahs, restricting them to 12 points or fewer on three occasions in that span.
The Stormers have lost their past four games away from home, their longest drought since a stretch of seven road losses in 2014.
Cheetahs: Clayton Blommetjies, Sergeal Petersen, Francois Venter (captain), Clinton Swart, Raymond Rhule, Niel Marais, Tian Meyer, Niell Jordaan, Uzair Cassiem, Henco Venter, Reniel Hugo, Armandt Koster, Johan Coetzee, Elandré Huggett, Ox Nche. Reserves: Jo Dweba, Charles Marais, Tom Botha, Justin Basson, Oupa Mohoje, Fred Zeilinga, Ruan van Rensburg, William Small-Smith.
Stormers: SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh, Shaun Treeby, Dillyn Leyds, Damian Willemse, Jano Vermaak, Nizaam Carr, Kobus van Dyk, Rynardt Elstadt, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Chris van Zyl, Frans Malherbe (captain), Ramone Samuels, JC Janse van Rensburg. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, JD Schickerling, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Justin Phillips, EW Viljoen, Seabelo Senatla.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has made five changes to his team. Francois Venter is back in the starting line-up and starts at outside centre in place of William Small-Smith, while Tian Meyer takes over from the injured Shaun Venter at scrumhalf. Niell Jordaan starts at the back of the scrum, while Reniel Hugo will slot in at lock and Elandre Huggett will play hooker in the absence of the injured Torsten van Jaarsveld. Boks loose forward Oupa Mohoje will start on the bench in his comeback match from a concussion.
The exciting Damian Willemse will start at flyhalf for the Stormers. The 19-year-old Willemse, who was still in high school last year, will be partnered by Jano Vermaak at scrumhalf. Centre Juan de Jongh will play alongside Shaun Treeby in midfield, while Frans Malherbe will lead the team. Springboks prop Steven Kitshoff is on the bench for the Stormers.
Sunday, July 2
Lions v Sunwolves, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg 1:15am (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Lions won the only previous encounter between these teams, scoring exactly twice as many points as the Sunwolves in both halves.
The Lions have won their past 12 games on home turf; only once in Super Rugby history has any South African team won more home games in a row.
Lions: Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronjé, Ruan Ackermann, Kwagga Smith, Jaco Kriel (captain), Franco Mostert, Andries Ferreira, Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen. Reserves: Akker van der Merwe, Corné Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink, Faf de Klerk, Jacques Nel, Sylvian Mahuza.
Sunwolves: Yasutaka Sasakura, Takaaki Nakazura, Ryohei Yamanaka, Ryan Carpenter, Teruya Goto, Jumpei Ogura, Keisuke Uchida; Willem Britz, Shoeki Kin, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Kotaro Yatabe, Sam Wykes, Yasuo Yamaji, Atsushi Sakate, Masataka Mikami. Replacements: Takeshi Hino, Koki Yamamoto, Takuma Asahara, Uwe Helu, Malgene Ilaua, Kaito Shigeno, Rikita Matsuda, Kotaro Matsushima.
Jaco Kriel will lead a Springboks-laden Lions team, taking over the captaincy from Warren Whiteley who has been ruled out of the rest of the competition with a groin injury. Coach Johan Ackermann, though, still has Ruan Dreyer, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Ross Cronjé, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Courtnall Skosan and Andries Coetzee at his disposal.
The Sunwolves will field a new-look halves pairing this week in Keisuke Uchida and Jumpei Ogura.