Am Returns to Action for Ulster Clash

The inspirational Lukhanyo Am returns to the Cell C Sharks starting line-up for their Vodacom United Rugby Championship final pool clash against Ulster in Belfast on Friday evening.

Head coach Sean Everitt has made just three changes from the last outing, a 41-21 penultimate round victory over Connacht at Hollywoodbets Kings Park at the end of April.

There is a new lock pairing of Ruben van Heerden and Reniel Hugo who come in for Le Roux Roets and Gerbrandt Grobler respectively, with just the one change to the backline where Lukhanyo Am returns to action after his two-month sojourn in Japan, taking over from Ben Tapuai at outside centre.

The pool stages of the tournament couldn’t have ended on a more dramatic note, with only Leinster having guaranteed their position at the top of the log, and just six log points separating teams two through eight.

Home ground advantage is key in any competition come the knock-out rounds, but so too is the reward that comes with winning your country’s Shield and for this reason, there will be no holding back from the Cell C Sharks.

“We’re currently sitting on top of the South African Shield and third on the log, so there is everything to play for,” Everitt explains.

“We know what a huge challenge it is to go to Belfast to play at Kingspan, but we do believe we have the ability and the players, as well as the coaching team to go over there and do the job.

“It would be really good for us if we were able to come home and play in front of our fans at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in a quarter and semi-final.”

Cell C Sharks

1. Ox Nche

2. Bongi Mbonambi

3. Thomas du Toit (c)

4. Ruben van Heerden

5. Reniel Hugo

6. Siya Kolisi

7. Henco Venter

8. Phepsi Buthelezi

9. Jaden Hendrikse

10. Curwin Bosch

11. Makazole Mapimpi

12. Marius Louw

13. Lukhanyo Am

14. Werner Kok

15. Aphelele Fassi

Replacements

16. Kerron van Vuuren

17. Ntuthuko Mchunu

18. Khutha Mchunu

19. Hyron Andrews

20. Jeandre Labuschagne

21. Sikhumbuzo Notshe

22. Grant Williams

23. Boeta Chamberlain