Preview: Cell C Sharks vs Emirates Lions

The Cell C Sharks face a huge test of character and passion when we visit the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg later this evening looking for a strong performance in a local Vodacom Super Rugby derby match.

The Lions have been the dominant South African force in the competition in recent years and again this year are in a good position at this early stage, leading the South African Conference.

The Cell C Sharks have a proud history in the tournament with numerous final appearances and would like nothing better than to emulate former successes again this year, but know that this crunch match against the Lions takes on huge demands.

 

What They Said:

 

“This weekend you’re going to get two teams who want to chase possession and really challenge each other with the ball which suits us. We’re up against a team that’s all about position, looking to use the ball as much as possible.”

  • Cell C Sharks assistant coach David Williams

 

“It doesn’t get any easier, this is a tough assignment. The Lions are on a high, we’re playing in Johannesburg and we know how tough it is up there. They have good players, the Lions are a good team but we have to concentrate on what we have to do and not focus too much on them.”

  • Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez

 

“We have a good opportunity against the Lions, we do need to stamp our authority a bit more, especially against the South African sides, and everyone is up for the challenge.”

  • Cell C Sharks tighthead prop Thomas du Toit

 

The Teams:

Lionel Mapoe plays in his 99th Vodacom Super Rugby match, while Malcolm Marx captains the side in the place of injured eighthman Warren Whitely and Marx is sure to test a youngster in the Cell C Sharks side, Kerron van Vuuren, who is one of two changes to the starting line-up, the other being Curwin Bosch, selected at fullback.

 

Some History

The last match between the two sides (round two in 2018) was a Cell C Sharks victory at Jonsson KINGS PARK, a 31-24 win over the Lions.

Overall, the teams have met 21 times with the Lions winning nine of those matches and the Cell C Sharks 11. There has been just one draw between the sides.

 

A Few Stats:

 

Clean Breaks*:

Cell C Sharks: 9.3 Lions: 9.8

 

Offloads*:

Cell C Sharks: 8.2 Lions: 6.3

 

Penalties Conceded*:

Cell C Sharks: 8.7 Lions: 8.7

 

Tackle Percentage:

Cell C Sharks: 85% Lions: 85%

 

Lineout Success:

Cell C Sharks: 85% Lions: 91%

 

Scrum Success:

Cell C Sharks: 92% Lions: 93%

 

*Ave per game
Head to Head:

2017: Lions 34 – 29 Cell C Sharks

2017: Cell C Sharks 10-27 Lions

2017: Lions 23 – 21 Cell C Sharks

2018: Lions 26 – 19 Cell C Sharks

2018: Cell C Sharks 31 – 24 Lions

 

Match Info:

Referee:  Mike Fraser

Kick-off: Friday 5 April

Time: 7.10pm

Venue: Emirates Airline Park