The Cell C Sharks take on the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday in the final round of the pool stages of Vodacom Super Rugby 2019, knowing that our fate in the competition rests on the result of this match.
In fact, the same could be said of the Stormers as well as numerous other sides who will not only be relying on their own performances, but those of other teams as well, such is the competitiveness of the tournament.
The fact that there are so many permutations remaining provides much food for thought and great interest for the fan.
“The Stormers are a formidable side, they’ve played really well at home this year, only losing once [to the Brumbies], so they’re a proud team with a proud record and it’s not going to be easy,” said Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez.
“It will be a real South African derby match with everything to play for. We know what’s at stake and know what’s expected. It’s going to come down to a team effort – all 23 players.”
No Eben Etzebeth or Pieter-Steph du Toit for the Stormers removes a huge amount of forward power from their pack, although the players who fill in for the world class Springbok duo will no doubt want to prove a point.
For the Cell C Sharks, injuries mean that there’s no Akker van der Merwe, Craig Burden, Curwin Bosch, Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt, although the return from injury of Beast Mtawarira and Cameron Wright is a boost to the team for this all-important clash.
“As far as injuries go, it is what it is,” said Robert du Preez. “The guys who have been selected have all played before, we have a very good squad system.
“Having Beast back is a big positive for us, he always comes with a big game, and we can expect it again in a tough match against South African opposition. He’s going to be massive for us and his leadership is fantastic. We’re very pleased to have him back.
The two teams have met 30 times in Vodacom Super Rugby with the Cell C Sharks having won on 16 occasions and the Stormers 14. The Stormers shade the Cell C Sharks eight wins to six in the 14 clashes between the sides in Cape Town.
A Few Stats:
Cell C Sharks: 9.4 Stormers: 8.3
Cell C Sharks: 77% Stormers: 84%
Cell C Sharks: 8.3 Stormers: 8.6
Cell C Sharks: 8.5 Stormers: 8
Cell C Sharks: 86% Stormers: 85%
Cell C Sharks: 84% Stormers: 90%
Cell C Sharks: 94% Stormers: 88%
*Ave per game
Head to Head:
2016: Stormers 13-18 Cell C Sharks
2017: Cell C Sharks 22-10 Stormers
2018: Cell C Sharks 24-17 Stormers
2018: Stormers 27-16 Cell C Sharks
2019: Cell C Sharks 11-16 Stormers
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Kick-off: Saturday 15 June
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town