Preview: Cell C Sharks vs Rebels

The Cell C Sharks host the Rebels at JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday knowing that this is a must-win match that will get our Vodacom Super Rugby campaign back on track.

The Rebels currently top the Australian Conference with 13 points from their four games, two points ahead of the Brumbies with 11 (having played five), while the Cell C Sharks have slipped from the number one position in the South African Conference, but a win will boost matters noticeably.

“Everyone thought they’d walk their game against the Lions from their first half showing last week, I’m sure they’ll come to Durban to rectify the loss,” explains Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez of the fact that the Rebels will come to Durban with only one thought on their minds: winning.

There has been some deep introspection for a proud Cell C Sharks side who are bitterly disappointed at the outcome of the last two games, analysis which suggests the team is still on the right track.

“We really had a good week of preparation ahead of the Bulls game – the same for the Stormers – but, at the end of the day, you have to go out and do it on the field. We’ve really looked hard at our game and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with our game plan; it’s all about mentality and mindset – how you go into these games. Especially at home; you don’t want to lose at home, so this is a must-win for us to get our campaign back on track.”

One area that the Cell C Sharks will look to exert dominance will be in the physicality stakes this weekend against the Rebels. “That was something we thought was lacking against the Bulls and the Stormers, especially amongst the forwards. That’s where it all starts and they have to bring that physicality on Saturday.”

What They Said:

“They’re a tough team, really good and it’s certainly going to be a ferocious battle. But they gave away lots of penalties in the second half against the Lions, especially in their 22 and I’m sure Rasta [referee Rasta Rasivhenge] will sort that out this weekend if it happens again.”
– Cell C Sharks Head coach Robert du Preez

“The Rebels are a bit different to the other Australian sides, they have a good pack as well with a good set-piece and their South African coach Dave Wessels likes front foot ball beyond the advantage line which makes it hard to defend against.”
Cell C Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen

The Teams:

The Rebels boast the likes of mercurial Wallabies as the vital halfback pairing, Will Genia and Quade Cooper two highly dangerous players who the Cell C Sharks will look to contain as much as possible.

Meanwhile, du Preez has introduced a few changes to our side.

“Apelele Fassi is back after a slight concussion and this is Phepsi Buthelezi’s first start. He’s a guy who works incredibly hard and we know his pedigree [from last year’s Under 19 campaign] and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes.

Then at lock, Ruben van Heerdem gets a start after doing really well against the Bulls when he came on and he’s worked very hard to get a go in the starting line-up.”

Some History

The last game between the sides saw the Rebels claiming their first ever victory over the Cell C Sharks, winning 46-14 after having lost four and drawn one in their previous five attempts.

A Few Stats:

Clean Breaks:
Cell C Sharks: 39 Rebels: 45

Offloads:
Cell C Sharks: 34 Rebels: 24

Tackle Percentage:
Cell C Sharks: 84.3% Rebels: 85.4%

Lineout Success:
Cell C Sharks: 88.7% Rebels: 93 %

Scrum Success:
Cell C Sharks: 97% Rebels: 88%

Match Info:

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Kick-off: Saturday 23 March
Time: 5:15pm
Venue: JONSSON KINGS PARK