South African teams aim for another impressive performance in European competitions


After beginning their respective competitions with an impressive four-out-of-five win record last week, the South African teams will be looking for another exciting weekend of action in the Investec Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup round two.

The DHL Stormers, who are vying for a record-tying third consecutive title, will take on Stade Rochelais in Cape Town on Saturday, while the Vodacom Bulls will play Lyon in France. Both Investec Champions Cup teams will be in action.

In the meantime, the Toyota Cheetahs host the Hollywoodbets Sharks in a delicious local derby on Sunday in Bloemfontein, while the Emirates Lions play the Newcastle Falcons in Johannesburg on Saturday in the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The DHL Stormers will be motivated to recover from their disheartening nine-point loss to the Leicester Tigers last week, which was their fifth consecutive loss away from home in both of their competitions. They will also want to take advantage of the opportunity to play their first game of the season at DHL Stadium.

Stade Rochelais has only won four of their nine games in the French Top 14 this season, and they are coming off a loss to Leinster last weekend, so that statistic should give them some comfort.

The home crowd and the local heat, which is very different from the conditions in Europe at this time of year, will work in favor of the Capetonians, who will also have a group of new players, including several Springboks, who stayed behind in Cape Town last week.

The Vodacom Bulls, who have won six of their eight games this season, will confidently support themselves for an important away victory against Lyon at Matmut Stadium de Gerland.

Lyon, on the other hand, has only won three of their first nine games in the Top 14 season. Nevertheless, they will be eager to improve following their devastating 36-34 loss to the Bristol Bears in the Investec Champions Cup last week.

The Pretoria team, who have averaged 47 points in their four home games this season, will present the French team with a formidable test on attack and in the set pieces.

The Emirates Lions take on the fervent Newcastle Falcons at Emirates Airline Park in the EPCR Challenge Cup with the goal of winning four straight games.

After losing all eight of their Gallagher Premiership games and losing by five points to Montpellier in the EPCR Challenge Cup last weekend, the visitors have had a difficult season.

The Emirates Lions will feel more confident because they have performed well in all of their home games in the Vodacom URC, have just returned from a confidence-boosting road victory over Perpignan, and will benefit from the altitude advantage this coming weekend in Johannesburg.

After both teams had strong wins in the competition the previous week, the match between the Toyota Cheetahs and Hollywoodbets Sharks in Bloemfontein is sure to be entertaining.

The KwaZulu-Natalians, who have been playing in the Vodacom URC, may be more match fit than the home team, who just started their top class season last weekend. The Free Staters will be well aware of this, but it could galvanize them.

Both teams pride themselves on their set pieces and strong offensive play, so a typical hard-fought derby is anticipated.

Match information: 

Investec Champions Cup

DHL Stormers v Stade Rochelais
Date: Saturday, 16 December
Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
SA Time: 15h00
Referee: Christophe Ridley
TV: SuperSport

Lyon v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 16 December
Venue: Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon
SA Time: 19h30
Referee: Mike Adamson
TV: SuperSport

EPCR Challenge Cup

Emirates Lions v Newcastle Falcons
Date: Saturday, 16 December
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
SA Time: 17h15
Referee: Benoit Rousselet
TV: SuperSport

Toyota Cheetahs v Hollywoodbets Sharks
Date: Sunday, 17 December
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
SA Time: 15h00
Referee: Andrea Piardi

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