Preview: Chiefs vs Cell C Sharks

The Cell C Sharks take on the Chiefs in our final Vodacom Super Rugby match of the tour of Australia and New Zealand and finishing the tour unbeaten would be one for the record books, not to mention the statement the team would be making.

 

The Cell C Sharks are undefeated in their last four regular season Vodacom Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition, having won three and drawn one, the most recent the 21-all draw with the Crusaders last weekend.

 

With a win against the Waratahs in the first week of tour, Saturday’s clash with the Chiefs offers the opportunity to go through the tour unbeaten.

 

“There is great spirit in the team and we know great potential – we showed that against the Crusaders and in the match against the Lions – that if we all pitch up on the day and put in a massive effort, we can be as good as the best teams, “ explains Cell C Sharks loose-forward Philip van der Walt.

 

“While last week was an opportunity to perform when we were expected to lose as underdogs, what’s important is that we show the same kind of motivation to win regardless of who we play, every week.”

 

The Chiefs had a tough start to the season, losing their first four games and drawing their fifth before registering their first victory. They will once more look to get back to winning ways after losing two and drawing one of their last three games against a fired-up Cell C Sharks side intent on closing out our tour on a high.

 

Said captain Louis Schreuder, “It’s been an enjoyable tour and to finish off unbeaten would be massive. We haven’t spoken about it as a team because that adds pressure, but it is in the back of our minds, that possibly no other team has gone on tour and come back unbeaten , especially including a game against the Crusaders, in Christchurch.

 

If we can achieve this, it would be a huge confidence-booster for the team, especially as the Chiefs are a quality, experienced outfit with a lot of x-factor players.”

 

What a game this is cut out to be.

 

What They Said:

 

“We’ve done our homework on the Chiefs, they’re one of the better teams in the competition even if they’re sitting in 14th place. Stats-wise, they’re top in a number of areas: first in tries, first in off-loads, first in passes, first in line-breaks, so they’re a massive attacking threat. They attack well and put opposition teams under pressure and we know it’s going to be a massive challenge for us. We’ll have to be in top form, like last week and the week before.”

  • Cell C Sharks captain Louis Schreuder

 

 

“The whole idea is to keep structure and deprive them of having a lot of ball. We were the underdogs against the Crusaders last week and really motivated to prove our worth and the important thing is to take the same mentality and effort into this week’s match.”

  • Cell C Sharks loose-forward Philip van der Walt

 

Team News:

 

Akker van der Merwe has been forced to return home with a shoulder injury while head coach Robert du Preez has given Daniel du Preez a rest with Jacques Vermeulen joining the loose-forward trio and Hyron Andrews taking the place of Ruben van Heerden at lock. Marius Louw replaces Andre Esterhuizen in an otherwise unchanged backline.

 

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are reeling under a horrific injury toll, with Michael Allardice and Lachlan Boshier unavailable following knocks taken last week adding to a long list that includes Damian McKenzie and co-captains Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane.

 

Some History:

 

Of the 22 meetings between the sides in the tournament’s history, the spoils are evenly shared at 11 wins apiece, although the Chiefs have a better record against the Cell C Sharks, having won seven of the 11 meetings in New Zealand.  Interestingly, the teams have never drawn a match against one another.

 

The Sharks have won two of their last three Super Rugby games against the Chiefs and will now be looking to secure rare back-to-back wins (the last time was in 2008 and 2009).

 

A Few Stats:

 

Clean Breaks*:

Cell C Sharks: 9.0 Chiefs: 12.7

 

Goal-kicking Percentage:

Cell C Sharks: 74% Chiefs: 74%

 

Offloads*:

Cell C Sharks: 8.5 Chiefs: 13.5

 

Penalties Conceded*:

Cell C Sharks: 8.5 Chiefs: 6.9

 

Tackle Percentage:

Cell C Sharks: 86% Chiefs: 83%

 

Lineout Success:

Cell C Sharks: 86% Chiefs: 84%

 

Scrum Success:

Cell C Sharks: 92% Chiefs: 94%

 

*Ave per game

 

Head to Head:

 

2012: Chiefs 37-6 Cell C Sharks

2013: Chiefs 37-29 Cell C Sharks

2015: Cell C Sharks 12-11 Chiefs

2016: Chiefs 24-22 Cell C Sharks

2018: Cell C Sharks 28-24 Chiefs

 

Match Info:

 

Referee:  Nic Berry

Kick-off: Saturday 11 May

Time: 9.35am (CAT)

Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton