The Time is Now

The time for dress-rehearsals is over as the 2018 Currie Cup Final between the Cell C Sharks and Western Province at DHL Newlands in Cape Town beckons, for Saturday’s season finale.

It’s been an intriguing season, with Western Province hosting a final thanks to their unbeaten run in the competition. The Cell C Sharks, having finished second, means the final produces a fitting end between the two best-performing sides in the tournament.

Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has made just two changes to the team that defeated the Lions last week, Tyler Paul shifts into Jacques Vermeulen’s position on the side of the scum, allowing an opening for Jean-Luc du Preez to gain his first start for the Cell C Sharks in this year’s competition.

“It’s the business end of the season, but fortunately we’re in the final again this year and hopefully we can bring the cup home,” the big flank, twin brother of eighthman Daniel, admits.

Having only recently returned from injury, he’s played off the bench in the last couple of games, but after being side-lined for three and a half months, he explains that: “Playing off the bench has been good for me, obviously coming back from a long-term injury, I was gradually eased into action and it’s great to be back!”

The loss to Western Province in the pool stages provided timely lessons which du Preez explains can only be in his team’s favour.

“We can take a lot out of that game, as we can from last week’s game against the Lions. In both matches we didn’t play for a full 80 minutes, we got a bit complacent. We’re focussing on the full 80, or the full 90, if that’s what it takes.”

“The focus is on us right now, not on Western Province, although we know it’s going to be a huge clash. They have a massive pack, we have a big pack too, so it’s the old cliché again: it will all be won upfront. It will be huge. If all eight and the forwards off the bench all put up our hands, it will be good.”

In the other change, Aphelele Fassi replaces Lwazi Mvovo, who was concussed in last week’s match.

The Cell C Sharks

  1. Juan Schoeman
  2. Akker van der Merwe
  3. Thomas du Toit
  4. Gideon Koegelenberg
  5. Hyron Andrews
  6. Tyler Paul
  7. Jean-Luc du Preez
  8. Daniel du Preez
  9. Louis Schreuder (C)
  10. Robert du Preez
  11. Aphelele Fassi
  12. Marius Louw
  13. Jeremy Ward
  14. Sbu Nkosi
  15. Curwin Bosch

Replacements

  1. Chiliboy Ralepelle
  2. Mzamo Majola
  3. Coenie Oosthuizen
  4. Jacques Vermeulen
  5. Luke Stringer
  6. Cameron Wright
  7. Kobus van Wyk
  8. Leolin Zas