50 up for Andre

The Cell C Sharks team named to take on the Vodacom Bulls in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby showdown at Loftus shows little change to the side that so emphatically defeated the Highlanders last week.

Head coach Robert du Preez has stuck with the same team, barring one change amongst the forwards where Jacques Vermeulen has come in for Philip van der Walt who took a blow to the face against the Highlanders and isn’t available this week.

It is tacit approval of the team that performed with such energy, distinction and pride last week, with continuity an important feature of success.

There is one more change – amongst the reserves – where Chiliboy Ralepelle, who is playing his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby game, comes in for Franco Marais on the bench. Chiliboy had played on 69 occasions for the Vodacom Bulls and will be playing his 31st match for the Cell C Sharks.

The Cell C Sharks come into this match against the Bulls with a measure of confidence, having beaten the DHL Stormers and Highlanders either side of our second bye, and will be looking to make it three in a row.

“One of the main things that we’ve seen since the loss to the Vodacom Bulls before that DHL Stormers game is that we haven’t been making as many errors and our set-piece is functioning a lot better,” explains Cell C Sharks eighthman Daniel du Preez. “The boys are starting to play well together and the forwards are finding momentum which obviously plays a big role.

“We are also really starting to build some consistency in our game and that’s giving us momentum.”

Talking forwards, he acknowledges that the game is going to be won and lost upfront.

“The set-piece battle is going to be huge and a big decider on which way the game goes.”

This game has a plenty riding on it, not only from a Conference point of view, but for the Cell C Sharks to continue a good run of form (in terms of play and results), while the Vodacom Bulls will want to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to the DHL Stormers.

“This is going to be a huge battle, South African derbies are never easy, there will be a lot of emotion,” he admits. “The guys remember the game against the Vodacom Bulls a few weeks ago and I think the Vodacom Bulls will be hurting from last week.

“If you win the physical battle, then half the war is won. It’s something we work hard on every week and something we pride ourselves on.

“But it’s also important that we show patience, get the ball through the phases and if we can do, we’ll definitely get the reward.”

Last week’s man of the match, Andre Esterhuizen will be playing his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby game for the Cell C Sharks.

The Cell C Sharks
1. Tendai Mtawarira
16. Chiliboy Ralepelle
2. Akker van der Merwe
17. Juan Schoeman
3. Thomas du Toit
18. Ross Geldenhuys
4. Tyler Paul
19. Stephan Lewies
5. Ruan Botha (C)
20. Wian Vosloo
6. Jacques Vermeulen
21. Louis Schreuder
7. Jean-Luc du Preez
22. Marius Louw
8. Daniel du Preez
23. Lwazi Mvovo
9. Cameron Wright
10. Robert du Preez
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Andre Esterhuizen **
13. Lukhanyo Am
14. Sbu Nkosi
15. Curwin Bosch

**Denotes that the player is earning his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap for the Cell C Sharks.