The Cell C Sharks XV take the Supersport Rugby Challenge to Ballito this Saturday afternoon (3pm) when they host Free State at Ashton College, looking to continue their great form.
Last week’s 32-5 bonus point victory over the log-leading Leopards at the Douglas Mitchell Sports Ground on the KZN South Coast showed what the team is capable of and coach Paul Anthony is expecting more of the same.
“The boys have grown from strength to strength,” he explained. “Getting a win with a bonus point against the top of the table Leopards last weekend, in the rain, was outstanding, the players really put in a stirring performance. The unity and synergy really came through in that match, the players played with absolute commitment and passion.”
He has made six enforced changes, with all six representing call-ups to the Vodacom Super Rugby squad that left early this week for Singapore for their clash with the Sunwolves.
Two changes in the front row feature props Juan Schoeman and John-Hubert Meyer being replaced by Ngoni Chidoma and Gerhard Engelbrecht respectively, with one more change to the pack of forwards, Wian Vosloo coming in for the traveling Jacques Vermeulen on the flank.
Courtney Winnaar has been called up to take over from Benhard Janse van Rensburg at flyhalf, whilst Damian Stevens starts at scrumhalf in place of Rowan Gouws who has joined the Vodacom Super Rugby team in Singapore.
Tristan Blewett in for Johan Deysel at centre and Odwa Ndungane returning to the side in place of S’bura Sithole in the three changes to the backline.
The Free State team have lost all three of their matches in the competition, but interestingly enough have secured two bonus points from each match.
“Having seen some top players promoted to the Super Rugby squad, which is a good thing, I’m looking forward to that same commitment,” said Anthony who wants no let up in the level of intensity. “I’m looking forward to seeing them make their mark against a good Free State side who I believe have been unlucky to lose.
“We’re really looking forward taking the game to the community of Ballito, and to again seeing the fighting spirit shown in the last few weeks. We expect this to be an absolute cracker of a game.”
The Cell C Sharks team to take on the Sunwolves in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Singapore’s National Stadium on Saturday shows a number of changes to last week’s team.
Head Coach Robert du Preez has had his hand forced with injuries in the backline and has had to make significant changes there to accommodate having to leave a number of players behind for medical attention.
In a completely rejigged front row and going with his rotation policy, du Preez has brought in Thomas du Toit for Beast Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Franco Marais swap jerseys and Lourens Adriaanse replaces Coenie Oosthuizen, who has been rested in line with the Springbok rest protocol.
Stephan Lewies comes in for Etienne Oosthuizen in the second row in the final change to the pack, with the loose-forward trio of captain Philip van der Walt and the du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Daniel remaining intact for this match.
Michael Claassens, has picked up a hamstring injury and Rowan Gouws has flown to Singapore to take his place on the bench. Cobus Reinach will decide matters as the link between forwards and backs.
With an unfortunate injury toll hitting the backline, there are a number of changes made for this week.
Fullback Rhyno Smith (Pectoral Muscle Tear), centre Jeremy Ward (broken nose) and Pat Lambie (concussion symptoms) have all been replaced. Garth April comes in at 10, Johan Deysel takes over at inside centre for Ward and Lwazi Mvovo has be moved from wing to fullback to accommodate the loss of Smith.
This opens the door for Sbu Nkosi to start his second match for the Cell C Sharks after making his debut two weeks ago against the Western Force at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.
This match also marks the starting debut for centre Johan Deysel who has represented our team off the bench previously, but now gains selection into the starting XV.
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