The Cell C Sharks team has been named to travel to Cape Town this weekend to take on a DHL Stormers side that will be completing their tournament on Saturday in a surprisingly early exit from the competition.
A loss to the Cell C Sharks will consign the DHL Stormers to finish bottom of the South African Conference, but they can expect no charity from a Cell C Sharks side aiming to qualify for the play-offs in two weeks’ time.
Barnstorming centre Andre Esterhuizen has added a number of strings to his bow and is now a more complete player, and he will continue his fantastic partnership with outside centre Lukhanyo Am.
Head coach Robert du Preez has been forced to make a change at flank where Jacques Vermeulen replaces the injured Jean-Luc du Preez in one of four changes to the side that beat the Lions at JONSSON KINGS PARK last Saturday.
In the second change to the pack, Juan Schoeman comes in for Beast Mtawarira who, with his heavy workload in June for the Springboks and Cell C Sharks, gets a break, but will play off the bench.
Scrumhalves Louis Schreuder and Cameron Wright rotate, while Sbu Nkosi returns after pulling out of the Lions match at the last minute, with Lwazi Mvovo retaining a starting position on the other wing, with Makazole Mapimpi turning out for the Cell C Sharks XV.
“That win over the Lions was a great game for us, we’re very happy with the result,” Esterhuizen said. “Our defence was brilliant, in the first half we had to defend for 20 or 25 minutes at one stage and all the boys stepped up. In the second half we played great rugby, got some possession and hung on to the ball a bit more and that’s when we started playing a bit.
“We want to win all our games, we just want to play our best rugby and we know that if we do, we can win these final pool games.”
Of the DHL Stormers, Esterhuizen admitted that it won’t be easy against a side playing for nothing but pride.
“It’s their last game, a home game and because they haven’t had a great year, we know they will throw everything at us. They have nothing to lose and will want to finish the tournament off on a positive.
“It’s going to be tough, we expect a lot from them.”
There is a substantial milestone to celebrate with Thomas du Toit playing in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby match for the Cell C Sharks this Saturday.
|The Cell C Sharks
|1. Juan Schoeman
||16. Chiliboy Ralepelle
|2. Akker van der Merwe
||17. Beast Mtawarira
|3. Thomas du Toit
||18. John-Hubert Meyer
|4. Tyler Paul
||19. Hyron Andrews
|5. Ruan Botha (C)
||20. Wian Vosloo
|6. Philip van der Walt
||21. Cameron Wright
|7. Jacques Vermeulen
||22. Marius Louw
|8. Daniel du Preez
||23. Kobus van Wyk
|9. Louis Schreuder
|10. Robert du Preez
|11. Lwazi Mvovo
|12. Andre Esterhuizen
|13. Lukhanyo Am
|14. Sbu Nkosi
|15. Curwin Bosch