A Battle Royale

Springbok Captain Siya Kolisi leads a formidable Cell C Sharks side for this Saturday’s opening round Heineken Champions Cup clash with Harlequins at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell has named a Bok-laden side to host one of the giants of English Premiership rugby, a fitting tribute to the new tournament and the respect held for their opponents.

Kolisi is joined by fellow Springbok Eben Etzebeth after the international duo missed last week’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship game following a heavy workload for the national side in their four match Autumn International window in Europe in November.

There are numerous other Boks handily placed throughout the team as they look to get their first match of this new competition off to a winning start. This is a new and decisive test for the South African sides who have not had a taste of Heineken Cup rugby in the past, but the good showing of the local teams in last year’s and again the current VURC tournament reflect their readiness to play, compete and succeed at this level.

With Etzebeth back in the starting line-up, Vincent Tshituka will revert back to the loose forward role he played previously, alongside Kolisi and Phepsi Buthelezi. Powell has retained much of the same backline as last week, with the only change seeing Werner Kok replacing Marnus Potgieter on the wing.

Cell C Sharks Team

1. Ox Nche
2. Bongi Mbonambi
3. Carlu Sadie
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. Siya Kolisi (c)
7. Vincent Tshituka
8. Phepsi Buthelezi
9. Jaden Hendrikse
10. Curwin Bosch
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Ben Tapuai
13. Francois Venter
14. Werner Kok
15. Boeta Chamberlain

16. Dan Jooste
17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
18. Khutha Mchunu
19. Hyron Andrews
20. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
21. Grant Williams
22. Lionel Cronje
23. Rohan Janse van Rensburg