VURC Action Resumes

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has named a powerful line-up in his team’s first United Rugby Championship clash of the year for their derby against the Emirates Lions on Saturday.

Despite missing a handful of Springboks and given that the Carling Currie Cup has also dipped into The Sharks player pool, Everitt has still been able to select a very strong side for the match at Emirates Airline Park (3.00pm).

Lukhanyo Am leads the side and he is joined by a Test-laden backline, with all the familiar faces amongst a bruising pack.

Cell C Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi explains where the team is in a mental and preparation space and points out that the learnings they have taken on-board will stand them in good stead as the competition now resumes after the tournament broke for the festive season holidays.

“It’s been a tough two weeks after the break and our focus has been on reflecting on phase one of the URC which was a difficult challenge playing overseas. The learnings taken from that into this phase of the URC has been good for us and we’re looking forward to getting out there and rectifying our mistakes and building from there.”

He adds that the vibe is positive and the players are all excited to get stuck into the tournament.

The mood in the camp is relaxed, everyone is eager to get out there and play. There’s a lot of energy at training, the boys want to put in a good effort every session, even though it’s scorching out there. But everyone is happy that there are fixtures and that we’re able to play again.”

Casting his mind to their opponents on Saturday, he says, “We know the Lions are full of intensity, but with that comes mistakes and one thing we’ve looked after is being able to capitalise on opportunities that we receive, so to convert four from five opportunities would be great. And then playing in the right areas of the field is something we want to achieve.

“We’re expecting a very fast game,” he adds. “They’re a team that loves to play with a lot of intensity and keep the ball in play and we’re looking forward to the game.

“For some of us, it’s our first taste of URC rugby, for some it’s their first game in a long time and we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”

Cell C Sharks

  1. Ox Nche
  2. Kerron van Vuuren
  3. Thomas du Toit
  4. Ruben van Heerden
  5. Hyron Andrews
  6. James Venter
  7. Jeandre Labuschagne
  8. Phepsi Buthelezi
  9. Grant Williams
  10. Boeta Chamberlain
  11. Makazole Mapimpi
  12. Ben Tapuai*
  13. Lukhanyo Am (C)
  14. Sbu Nkosi
  15. Aphelele Fassi


  1. Fez Mbatha
  2. Ntuthuko Mchunu
  3. Khutha Mchunu
  4. Reniel Hugo
  5. Henco Venter
  6. Jaden Hendrikse
  7. Tito Bonilla
  8. Jeremy Ward

*Denotes Cell C Sharks debut