Action returns to Durban

The Cell C Sharks welcome the Rebels to JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday in a sixth round Vodacom Super Rugby clash that holds great importance for both sides.

 The Rebels and the Cell C Sharks have both suffered defeats in the previous round and neither will want to follow up with a consecutive loss.  The Rebels will also hope to take some points out of their trip to South Africa after conceding a 33-5 lead over the Emirates Lions that resulted in a 36-33 loss.

Head coach Robert du Preez has made a few changes to his side, Ruben van Heerden and Hyron Andrews pairing up in the second row while Phepsi Buthelezi is given a welcome start at flank.

Andre Esterhuizen reverts back at inside centre while Aphelele Fassi is back in the side after taking a knock against the DHL Stormers and replaces Rhyno Smith at fullback.

There is a welcome return for Craig Burden who played hooker for the Cell C Sharks between 2006 and 2013 before embarking on a five-year career in France, representing Toulon, Montpellier and Stade Français.  He has been named as a replacement for Akker van der Merwe.

Luke Stringer is set to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut off the bench as the replacement flank.  Marius Louw also features on the bench.

 Esterhuizen, who watched much of the previous game from the side-lines can’t wait to get stuck in.

 “We need to get back on track and get some log points. Obviously, we were disappointed in the last two performances but we’ve had time to reflect and this week has been about working hard on the training pitch with the emphasis on ball retention and getting back to physicality.”

In the two preceding matches, the South African derbies, he explains why there is a need for getting back to physicality.  “We didn’t handle it well enough and it’s something we’ve focused on this week. We have a great pack when they’re firing, let’s hope this weekend goes well.”

 Casting his eye towards the Rebels, he points out that, “They’re a very different side to what we’ve encountered this year. They like to play the ball flat and on the front foot.  They’re a good attacking side and we’ll have to beat them physically.”

Cell C Sharks

  1. Beast Mtawarira
  2. Akker van der Merwe
  3. Coenie Oosthuizen
  4. Ruben van Heerden
  5. Hyron Andrews
  6. Phepsi Buthelezi
  7. Jacques Vermeulen
  8. Daniel du Preez
  9. Louis Schreuder (C)
  10. Robert du Preez
  11. Makazole Mapimpi
  12. Andre Esterhuizen
  13. Lukhanyo Am
  14. Sbu Nkosi
  15. Aphelele Fassi


  1. Kerron van Vuuren
  2. Juan Schoeman
  3. Thomas du Toit
  4. Gideon Koegelenberg
  5. Luke Stringer*
  6. Grant Williams
  7. Marius Louw
  8. Curwin Bosch

*Denotes that the player is set to make his Vodacom Super Rugby debut