Finishing on a High

The Cell C Sharks have accomplished much on tour so far and will be challenging themselves to repeat the highs of the past two weeks with an equally emphatic performance against the Chiefs on Saturday morning.

With six log points from two tour matches, this Cell C Sharks team go into Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs riding a wave of confidence, knowing that a bright finish will provide just the impetus for the final stretch of the competition.

Head coach Robert du Preez has made three changes to the starting line-up, making rotational changes to give rest to players who have endured a heavy workload.

Upfront, Hyron Andrews returns to the starting XV in place of Ruben van Heerden while Philip van der Walt moves to eighthman for Daniel du Preez with Jacques Vermeulen coming in at flank.

There is just one change to the backline, Marius Louw replacing Andre Esterhuizen while Fezokuhle Mbatha, Tyler Paul, Luke Stringer and Kobus van Wyk all come onto the bench.

Curwin Bosch has been in outstanding form at flyhalf and du Preez admitted from New Zealand that, “He’s played really well and done well for us, he’s a very good all-round player.”

The performances on tour so far have been outstanding, the team undefeated against the Waratahs and the Crusaders and looking to finish the tour on a high when they take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday morning. Du Preez put the good results down to “great team spirit.”

In summing up the previous two weeks, du Preez said: “Defence shows the character in the team and the team spirit that exists. They’ve been immense and I’ve said that from the word go. From the beginning of the year I said we have a great plan both from an attacking point of view and on defence. On Friday the boys showed how they care for each other; that’s the bottom line.”

The coach agreed that six points in the bag after two games on tour, against quality opposition, is a huge return.

“I would have taken that, absolutely,” said du Preez. “We know how tough it is to tour and how tough this competition is, so to beat the Waratahs for the first time in 19 years in Sydney [the last time was in 2000], that’s a great feat as was the draw against the Crusaders, very nearly a win.

“We’re very pleased with where we are.”

The Cell C Sharks

1 Thomas du Toit
2 Kerron van Vuuren
3 Coenie Oosthuizen
4 Hyron Andrews
5 Ruan Botha
6 Jacques Vermeulen
7 Jean-Luc du Preez
8 Philip van der Walt 
9 Louis Schreuder (C)
10 Curwin Bosch
11 Makazole Mapimpi
12 Marius Louw
13 Lukhanyo Am
14 Sbusiso Nkosi
15 Aphelele Fassi


Replacements

16. Fezokuhle Mbatha
17. Mzamo Majola
18. John-Hubert Meyer
19. Tyler Paul
20. Luke Stringer
21. Cameron Wright
22. Robert du Preez
23. Kobus van Wyk