The Capetonians will host the Grand Final at the DHL Stadium – where kick-off is scheduled for 19h30 on Saturday – in front of a capacity crowd of 31 000 who will brave the expected cold and wet winter weather, while the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
The DHL Stormers were granted this prestigious opportunity after finishing as the top-ranked team on the table following their Final Four victory against Ulster at home last week, while the Vodacom Bulls shocked log-leaders and tournament favourites, Leinster, in Dublin in the other semi-final.
Neither team is expected to give an inch in what will be an epic showdown as both teams try to use their tough forward packs and classy backlines to outclass one another.
The DHL Stormers won one more game than their Tshwane counterparts this season, but the Vodacom Bulls will draw confidence from the fact that they scored 54 points more than the opposition in the league stages of the competition, although the Cape side’s defence has been more effective conceding 77 fewer points.
This, however, will have little significance on Saturday, as finals rugby is about inches and the smallest margins will count.
Both sides will enter the match high on confidence as the home side have registered victories in their last 10 matches, while the Vodacom Bulls have lost only one of their last 11 fixtures, which interestingly was against the DHL Stormers in Cape Town in April.
Adding to the DHL Stormers confidence, their only home defeat this season was a 37-19 loss against the Emirates Lions in December, but this track record will not intimidate the Vodacom Bulls, especially after toppling Leinster against all odds at their home patch in Dublin last week to book their final berth, while they also suffered only one defeat in their last 11 matches.
DHL Stormers flank Deon Fourie will play his 100th game for the team in the historic showpiece, running out ahead of a matchday squad showing two changes from the semi-final, with wing Sergeal Petersen coming in for the injured Leolin Zas, while loose forward Junior Pokomela is included on the replacements bench.
“We are up against our old rivals in a home final, so you can be sure we will be ready to give it everything we have and hopefully make our supporters proud,” said DHL Stormers coach John Dobson.
"Deon embodies a lot of what we pride ourselves in as a team. Playing for the DHL Stormers means a lot to Deon, and it means a lot to the rest of us that he reaches this milestone on such a big occasion.
“Sergeal and Junior have also shown their worth for us this season and both add something different to our squad, so we are looking forward to seeing what they can do on Saturday.”
Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has made just one change to his team for the match from the side that beat Irish giants Leinster in Dublin last weekend, with Kurt-Lee Arendse back at fullback, and Canan Moodie moving to the wing.
“It’s been an incredible season in our first one participating in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship,” said White.
“We have measured ourselves against some of the best sides and players in the world. So, to be able to play in the final is an incredible feat. I am very proud of the Vodacom Bulls players, coaches and staff for the hard work and role they played in getting this far.
“We are up against a deserving and strong DHL Stormers side that has shown throughout the season how competitive and hungry for success they are. We expect another tough challenge against a team we have not managed to beat this season.”
DHL Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ernst van Rhyn, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Nama Xaba, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Mantanzima, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 David Kriel.
Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
SA time: 19h30
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland, 80th league game)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (SA), AJ Jacobs (SA)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA)
Vodacom URC Grand Final at DHL Stadium sold out
With the maximum allowed capacity crowd of 31 000 expected, as well as the predicted wet weather, spectators are urged to get to DHL Stadium by at least 18h00, with gates opening at 16h30 – three hours before kick-off.
Spectators are requested to dress warmly and bring a raincoat, but umbrellas are prohibited and will not be allowed inside the stadium, while heavy traffic is expected on all routes leading to DHL Stadium, with a number of road closures in place, and parking will be very limited in the stadium precinct.
For a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know if you are attending the match, click here.