DHL Stormers vs Cell C Sharks

This weekend it’s the return leg Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash between the Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers in Cape Town with a point to prove for the Durban side on Saturday.

Following on from their first round draw at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on the weekend, it’s back-to-back action for the two sides, a game that holds promise of all out action and excitement.

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt, speaking about the changes in the side, explained of the one enforced and two rotational that, “Unfortunately Ben Tapuai took a knock to the knee in training on Tuesday and wasn’t available for selection this week. In the other changes, Jaden and Tito have been on the bench for a number of games now and I thought it was time to give them a start and some extended time on the field. It’s great that they get an opportunity.

“Jaden was our first choice scrumhalf, although Grant Williams has done a great job in his absence. Grant played well last week and we can see the nines rotating going forward.”

There hasn’t been a lot of game time for the Argentine import, but Everitt expects an important contribution from the international, not only what he brings personally, but the effect he has on those around him.

“Tito is an international, so you can expect calmness and composure, he likes to direct the field and offers leadership. In the moments he’s been on the field for us, he’s certainly guided the team really well. Under pressure, with his experience, will lead to composure amongst his team-mates and we look forward to that.”

With the pack remaining intact from last week, the opportunity to select the same set of forwards bodes well. The combined effort in creating such scrum dominance is something the coach hoped to see more of, something that consistency in selection helps.

“Everyone is good to go, it’s great that we’re able to build some momentum with consistency in selection. It takes time to build cohesion, although this team has been together for months, but we’ve had limited time on the field together, so the more consistency we have, the better the team will get.

With the Cell C Sharks building up a sizeable lead in their last match against the Stormers, before the visitors fought back for a draw, Everitt felt that it wasn’t about poor game management from his charges and that discipline will be a strong focal point for Saturday’s match.

“It was more the case that we weren’t disciplined enough; we played a lot of rugby in the right areas of the field, but our accuracy let us down in the final 20 minutes. We knew that if we gave the Stormers’ back three space to run at us, we would be in trouble and unfortunately we overcooked a couple of our kicks.

“In saying that, if you go into the last 15 minutes with seven points on the scoreboard, it’s always going to be tough when you give away yellow cards and that made it really difficult for us. You can’t win games giving away four yellow cards and two penalty tries, so discipline is going to be crucial.

“But we’ve spoken about it and addressed it, and we will be better for it on Saturday.”

Playing in Cape Town as opposed to the heat and humidity of Durban presents an opportunity to really show what the team is capable of and Everitt said he was looking forward to the match.

“You always play according to the conditions you’re dealt with. Going to the drier part of South Africa, Cape Town, at this time of the year, means you are able to play differently and you are able to hold onto the ball for longer periods of time.

“I think both teams have exciting backlines, although the Stormers don’t have as many Springboks as we do. But they’re certainly exciting and have a lot of x-factor players. I think it’s going to be a great game of rugby and certainly one that should be a feast for spectators.”