This weekend is the last time coaches can test players and combinations before the start of the Vodacom Super Rugby 2019 competition.
After last week’s Super Hero Sunday, supporters are upbeat for the start of this year’s competition.
With so much to play for we are expecting our four franchises to step it up this year and what most supporters want is that that they are able to compete with the New Zealanders.
The Stormers will be playing against Boland in Wellington on Friday and coach Robbie Fleck has selected most of his Springboks for the match.
All in all he selected nine Springboks in his extended match-day squad.
They include Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff who start with Bongi Mbonambi in the front row.
In the back row we will see JD Schickerling and Cobus Wiese and captain Siya Kolisi will form the loose trio with Pieter Steph Du Toit and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
On the bench is Jaco Coetzee, Kobus van Dyk and Juarno Augustus.
Justin Phillips and Damian Willemse will be the halfback pair with Damien De Allende and Rhuan Nel in the midfield.
The back three will be Craig Barry, JJ Engelbrecht and SP Marias.
It is never easy against Boland who will be a good test at home.
Stormers – 15 Craig Barry, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Kobus van Dyk, 23 Herschel Jantjies, 24 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 25 Joshua Stander, 26 Dan du Plessis, 27 Dan Kriel, 28 Nico Leonard.
Boland Cavaliers: 15. Gavern Skippers, 14. Juandre Joseph, 13. Michaine Fick, 12. Wayne Smith, 11. Valentino Wellman, 10. Monty Dumond, 9. Ricardo Duarttee, 8. Patrick O’Brien, 7. Kenan Cronje, 6. Tapiwa Tsomondo, 5. Johannes Janse van Rensburg, 4. Marlyn Williams ©, 3. Clinton Theron, 2. Neil Rautenbach, 1. Arnout Malherbe.
Replacements:: 16. Francois Esterhuyzen, 17. Theunis Nieuwoudt, 18. Clarence van Wyk, 19. Robyn Adams, 20. Deejee Putter, 21. Taine-Randall Booysen, 22. Thurlow Marsh, 23. Vincent Fredericks, 24. Gurshwin Africa, 25. Sherwin Cupido, 26. Garrick Mattheus, 27. Wilneth Engelbrecht, 28. Andries Viljoen, 29. Givan Adams, 30. Shilton van Wyk.
The Sharks will be playing the Bulls on Saturday and coach Du Preez said earlier in the week that they will pick a full-strength side for their final warmup match.
He would like to give as much players that will start against the Sunwolves in week the opportunity on Saturday so we expect his strongest possible side to start against the Bulls.
Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has selected his strongest available squad to take on the Vodacom Bulls in Saturday’s warm-up match at Ashton College in Ballito, in preparation for the imminent Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
There were no injury concerns aside from a few minor niggles out of the Super Hero Sunday clash with the Emirates Lions and du Preez admitted that, “We’re all good to go for Saturday.”
Explaining his selection, the coach pointed out that, “The plan is to potentially start the same team against the Bulls that we would pick to play in our opening Vodacom Super Rugby game. This match is very much a dress rehearsal for the Sunwolves game next Saturday.
“We have two full teams and when the game is finished on Saturday, everyone involved in the pre-season would have played, rewarding each one of them for the hard work they’ve put into this pre-season.”
The coaches have the good fortune of having an almost full squad of players at their disposal, with just a handful of players unavailable due to injury, but who are making steady progress and will return to action not too long from now.
Beast Mtawarira, Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen will start in the front row with Hyron Andrews and Ruan Botha partnering at lock. Jacques Vermeulen, Tyler Paul and Dan du Preez complete the back-row trio.
Captain Louis Schreuder and Curwin Bosch start as the half-back pairing with Marius Louw and Lukhanyo Am partnering in the centrefield. A young and exciting back three complete the team, du Preez going with Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi.
There are plenty of exciting young players as well as experienced talent amongst the reserves to suggest that this is a very strong side. Kickoff for this final warm-up match is 14h00.
Cell C Sharks
1. Beast Mtawarira
2. Akker van der Merwe
3. Coenie Oosthuizen
4. Hyron Andrews
5. Ruan Botha
6. Jacques Vermeulen
7. Tyler Paul
8. Daniel du Preez
9. Louis Schreuder
10. Curwin Bosch
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Marius Louw
13. Lukhanyo Am
14. Sbu Nkosi
15. Aphelele Fassi
16. Juan Schoeman
17. Fezo Mbatha
18. Khutha Mchunu
19. Ruben van Heerden
20. Gideon Koegelenberg
21. Wian Vosloo
22. Luke Stringer
23. Phepsi Buthelezi
24. Cameron Wright
25. Robert du Preez
26. Lwazi Mvovo
27. Andre Esterhuizen
28. Jeremy Ward
29. Leolin Zas
30. Courtney Winnaar
31. Kerron van Vuuren
32. Grant Williams
33. Rhyno Smith
Jason Jenkins will start at lock with Lood de Jager on Saturday when the Vodacom Bulls take on the Cell C Sharks in Ballito.
Jenkins recently returned from his club duties in Japan and will start alongside fellow Springbok and team captain, De Jager, in the engine room.
The match will also see a first sight in the new season of Hanro Liebenberg and Andre Warner, with both returning from their loan spell in France.
Liebenberg and Warner will play off the bench in a team that showed numerous changes from the one that played in Cape Town last weekend.
Only Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard, Duane Vermeulen, De Jager and the front row of Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Britz and Lizo Gqoboka will be in the starting team again. Dylan Sage, Embrose Papier, Thembelani Bholi, and Ruan Steenkamp played off the bench last weekend, but earn starts this time around against the home side.
Wingers Cornal Hendricks and Rosko Specman played in the warm-up match against the Emirates Lions two weeks, but was not involved in Cape Town.
The match takes place at Ashton College in Ballito on Saturday, 9th February. Kickoff is at 14h00.
Vodacom Bulls coach, Pote Human, said the match, which is expected to see the home side laden with all their international players, is another important step towards their final preparations for the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
“We did some good things last weekend and this is another step towards fine-tuning the squad. Obviously we will be trying to have a better start this week. The bad start last weekend, where we conceded some soft tries early, forced us to play catch-up rugby. We responded well, but I would not like to see a repeat of that,” Human said.
Starting team: Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Handre Pollard, Embrose Papier, Duane Vermeulen, Thembelani Bholi, Ruan Steenkamp, Lood de Jager (c), Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Britz, Lizo Gqoboka.
Finishers: Johan Grobbelaar, Matthys Basson, Conraad van Vuuren, Hanro Liebenberg, Paul Schoeman, Jannes Kirsten, Tim Agaba, Andre Warner, JT Jackson, Jade Stighling, Divan Rossouw.