The Cell C Sharks team to play the Waratahs in Saturday’s Super Rugby clash at Kings Park shows a number of changes as the team look to retain their log position and dominance of the local conference.
Four home wins so far translates into top of the overall log and the South African conference, but to remain there requires a big performance against the Waratahs on Saturday, another of the forms teams in this year’s competition, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“We didn’t play well and we’re not making excuses; we weren’t on top of our game properly,” said director of rugby Jake White when discussing the 23-19 loss to the Bulls.
“But it’s a new week, a new opportunity and we have a bye next week, so there is a lot to play for and no reason why we don’t give everything this weekend. The Waratahs are a good team, they have a lot of Wallabies in their squad and they have been on a good roll so far in the competition.
“Like us, they’ve only lost one game and they have a really well-balanced team. Of the three games they’ve won, they’ve scored bonus points in all three victories, so they can obviously score tries. They’re a strong, well-balanced side and that means it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
The fact that they are top of the log means the Sharks can determine their own fate – it won’t take other results to affect where they end off.
“The nice thing is that we’re still in control of what happens to us; the one thing you want to do in this competition is to be able to control your own destiny. You don’t want to get into a situation where other teams dictate where you end and who you play against. That’s what every team aspires to in this competition, making sure you control your own destiny, and the only way you can make sure of that is by winning.”
White’s changes see Lwazi Mvovo shifting to fullback with SP Marais playing off the bench and Odwa Ndungane returning to the side following compassionate leave. At halfback, Fred Zeilinga is in for Patrick Lambie and Charl McLeod replaces Cobus Reinach.
There is no place in the match-day squad for Tim Swiel, who replaced the injured Lambie early in last week’s match at Loftus Versfeld.
There are two changes amongst the forwards, Willem Alberts shifts to lock following the loss through injury of Anton Bresler, with Alberts’ flank position taken up by Jean Deysel.
There is a debut opportunity for scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer, while Keegan Daniel makes a welcome return to the side having completed his injury recovery programme.
Kick-off is at 17:05 on Saturday.
15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Frans Steyn
11. JP Pietersen, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Willem Alberts, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. SP Marais