Cell C Sharks Unchanged

In rare good fortune, Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has been able to name a completely unchanged match 23 for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby quarter-final clash with the Crusaders.

A good effort against the Jaguares at JONSSON KINGS PARK last weekend saw the Cell C Sharks through to the knock-out stage courtesy of an eighth place finish, but this has resulted in a knock-out match against the top of the table Crusaders.

Assistant coach Dick Muir, speaking from the team’s base in Christchurch ahead of Saturday morning’s match explained that, “There’s a lot of excitement, the team had a long haul getting to Christchurch but everyone is in good spirits. We’re coming off a good win and the team is ready to have a go.”

As we’ve seen this year, particularly against the New Zealand sides as well as last week when backs were against the wall, the big games have brought out the best in the Cell C Sharks this season and Muir expects nothing different on Saturday against the Crusaders.

“Absolutely, they have the players but our expectations are pretty high as we get to the business end of the competition. Not too many people are giving us a chance so it’s a great opportunity to prove them wrong.”

Not that this is the motivation, but certainly a Cell C Sharks win would be an upset, given the fact that the favourites’ tag is firmly on the shoulders of the Crusaders.

“The Crusaders have made their presence felt in the competition,” Muir said of their opponents.

The Crusaders won 14 of the 16 games in the regular season and finished the pool stages of the tournament with 12 log points more than the nearest rivals, the Hurricanes.

“They’ve played a brand of rugby that has brought them a lot of success and we’re respectful of that.”

Tendai ‘ Beast’ Mtawarira will play his 150th Vodacom Super game in a Cell C Sharks jersey. He holds the record for being the most capped Vodacom Super Rugby player for a single province and is just behind Adriaan Strauss who is the most capped South African Super Rugby player with 156 caps.

The Cell C Sharks
1. Beast Mtawarira
16. Chiliboy Ralepelle
2. Akker van der Merwe
17. Juan Schoeman
3. Thomas du Toit
18. John-Hubert Meyer
4. Tyler Paul
19. Hyron Andrews
5. Ruan Botha (C)
20. Wian Vosloo
6. Philip van der Walt
21. Cameron Wright
7. Jacques Vermeulen
22. Marius Louw
8. Daniel du Preez
23. Makazole Mapimpi
9. Louis Schreuder
10. Robert du Preez
11. Lwazi Mvovo
12. Andre Esterhuizen
13. Lukhanyo Am
14. Kobus van Wyk
15. Curwin Bosch