The Cell C Sharks take on the Hurricanes in our final pool match at JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday in what should be and incredibly tense and physical Vodacom Super Rugby match.
Last week’s victory over the Lions would have added to the confidence that built up on tour and what a statement it would be for the Cell C Sharks to inflict defeat on a powerful New Zealand side.
There will be many battles in the game, but an eagerly anticipated one will take place between the respective flyhalves, Curwin Bosch and Beauden Barrett.
“It’s fantastic, Curwin has done really well and it’s going to be a really good, but nice test for him,” explains head coach Robert du Preez. “And for the entire backline because we know how lethal the Hurricanes can be.”
Our defence was tested but found up to the task against a relentless Lions attack last week and it will be no different against a New Zealand team that, like the Lions, embraces an attacking style of rugby.
“We know that we don’t want to kick any loose balls to them, that will be a big focus for us. Our defence has been really good this year but Saturday will certainly be an acid test for us.”
The Hurricanes might be renowned for their attacking play, but they’re the team with the second highest kicking rate, so they do mix things up. It’s going to be a mouth-watering match, that’s for sure.
What They Said:
“We played well on tour against the New Zealand sides and had a good result here against the Blues, so we know what the challenges are and it’s about mentally fronting up. This is a must-win game; every one of the last three games is important for us. We’ve prepared well for this game, we’ve worked flipping hard and we’d like to carry that form through to the game.”
– Cell C Sharks captain Louis Schreuder
“We expect a running game, a lot of possession from both teams; it’s going to be a battle of who can turn possession into points.”
– Cell C Sharks lock Ruan Botha
“They have the second most points in the competition and we know a quality side they are; we’re going to have to play for the full 80 minutes. We’ll have to execute our plan with precision, they’re a top-class unit.”
– Cell C Sharks Assistant Coach Nick Easter
Jacques Vermeulen comes in for Philip van der Walt in the only change to the starting line-up with Robert du Preez confirming that, “Philip has a bit of a shoulder niggle, it’s nothing serious.”
On the bench, Cullen Collopy comes in for a possible start as the replacement hooker with Akker van der Merwe and Craig Burden unavailable due to injury.
“Rugby is all about giving people opportunities and Cullen has done really great work in the SuperSport Challenge. What an exciting opportunity for him.”
The two teams have met 22 times in Vodacom Super Rugby with the Cell C Sharks having won on 11 occasions and the Hurricanes ten, with one match drawn. In Durban, the Cell C Sharks have been dominant, winning seven and losing three of the ten meetings since 1997. The Hurricanes last won in Durban in 2005.
A Few Stats:
Cell C Sharks: 8.9 Hurricanes: 10.5
Cell C Sharks: 77% Hurricanes: 75%
Cell C Sharks: 8.3 Hurricanes: 6.8
Cell C Sharks: 8.3 Hurricanes: 10.4
Cell C Sharks: 86% Hurricanes: 85%
Cell C Sharks: 84% Hurricanes: 79%
Cell C Sharks: 93% Hurricanes: 94%
*Ave per game
Head to Head:
2014: Cell C Sharks 27-9 Hurricanes
2015: Hurricanes 32-24 Cell C Sharks
2016: Cell C Sharks 32-15 Hurricanes
2016: Hurricanes 41-0 Cell C Sharks
2018: Hurricanes 38-37 Cell C Sharks
Referee: Nic Berry
Kick-off: Saturday 1 June
Venue: JONSSON KINGS PARK