Staying on top

The Cell C Sharks Under 19s will travel with confidence for their SA Rugby Under 19 Championship round five clash with Free State Under 19s at CUT Rugby Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Having seen off Western Province 25-23 last week for their fourth consecutive win, the Cell C Sharks now share top spot on the log with the Blue Bulls, with a game in hand over the Pretoria side.

Once again, Head coach Sean Everitt can reflect on a hard-fought, but well-deserved win over perennial performers like Province.

“I am very proud of the guts and effort they showed last week,” he admits. “It wasn’t a pretty win but the boys really stuck their hands up on defence and that’s what ultimately won us the game.”

After four wins on the trot, Everitt feels that things are moving in the right direction for his team and they way they have gone about their business this season.

“We are definitely improving from week to week which is our season aim, along with performance. Although we won that game, we certainly didn’t perform to the standards we set ourselves, so there is still lots to work on.”

Mentioning defence as one area the coach is happy with, he also points out the fact that on attack, when the team got into the strike zone, they were rewarded.

“What was pleasing was, like last week, when we got into areas of the field where we needed to score, we managed to do that. That drove the positive outcome. It’s massively important that when opportunities present themselves, players take advantage of that. In saying that, we still feel we can do better on attack, we aren’t holding on to the ball long enough, so there is room for improvement. We want to get better as the competition moves on.”

With a full squad to choose from this week, Everitt hasn’t tampered with a winning formula and has stuck to the exact same match 23 as last week.

Each week has presented different challenges as far as the opposition goes but having seen off the Blue Bulls and Western Province in successive weeks, the Cell C Sharks Under 19s are well prepared for whatever Free State throws at them.

“Free State are always strong, and they also played in last year’s Under 19 final so we have no illusions about what a tough game we’re in for.

“They will be confident coming off a good win against the Lions; we know this is not going to be easy. Our forwards are going to have to be at their best against a strong pack that likes to maul the ball up. We’re expecting a big battle upfront.”

The Cell C Sharks U19s
1. James Scott
16. Cole Haggard
2. Fez Mbatha
17. Charles Staples
3. Francois Klopper
18. Dre Engelbrecht
4. Jeandre Labuschagne
19. Armand Conradie
5. JJ van der Mescht
20. Adam Mountford
6. Vian Fourie
21. Matt Doyle
7. Dylan Richardson
22. Onke Jiba
8. Phepsi Buthelezi (C)
23. Asanda Kunene
9. Sanele Nohamba
10. Henry Chamberlain
11. Thaakir Abrahams
12. Murray Koster
13. DJ Falconer
14. Caleb Dingaan
15. Muller du Plessis