It should have been a huge wake-up call for the Sharks last week when the Kings pushed them for 80 minutes to get a win out off a game which they would rather wanted to forget.
In all aspects the Sharks played their worst game for a few years last week as they struggled past the Kings and hopefully for their fans and coach it was the one bad one for the season. The team have six changes to the side that narrowly won against the Kings with French legend Clement Poitrenaud coming back into the starting line-up at full-back with Curwin Bosch taking on the ten role, Benhard Janse van Rensburg falling out of the squad completely.
The other change in the backline sees Lwazi Mvovo coming back into the side in place of Odwa Ndungane, with the Springbok taking over the vice captaincy role. In the forward pack, Etienne Oosthuizen comes back into the second-row pairing with Ruan Botha.
While in the front-row the Sharks will have the Springbok trio of props Coenie Oosthuizen and Tendai Mtawarira and Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker.
One of my friends reminded me that this weekend we will see Lukhanyo Am going against Cheetahs captain Francois Venter which should be an interesting match-up in the midfield on Saturday. Venter returns to captain the Cheetahs after a long injury stint and will want to be hitting the ground running for this one.
The Cheetahs has had a mixed season so far which includes the second lost for them this season last week against the Jaguares. The Cheetahs have made a few changes to the team with Tshego Nche who will slot in at prop once again with Johan Coetzee taking up the three jersey and Torsten van Jaarsveld at hooker.
Justin Basson will join up with Francois Uys in the second–row pairing. Paul Schoeman joins the back row once again in the six jersey with Henco Venter play at number eight.
In the backline Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen come back into the winger roles and Venter will partner Nico Lee in the centres. The half-back pairing of Shaun Venter and Fred Zeilinga moves from the bench to the starting line-up.
Tom Botha, Tian Meyer, Niel Marais and Ryno Benjamin/Clinton Swart move the bench.
This could be an explosive match and at Bloemfontein when these two sides meet it usually is. The Cheetahs will test the Sharks big pack as they will surely spread the ball fats and wide quickly and the Sharks will want to be perfect in the set pieces which is their strong point which they give their back-line a bit more time and space to work from.
Prediction: The Sharks will have to be perfect to win this game and although they can do it if they click, I believe the Cheetahs will take this one by 8 points
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (c), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Tshego Nche
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Ryno Benjamin/Clinton Swart
Sharks: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Garth April
|March 25, 2017||5:00 pm||Super Rugby 2017||Vodacom Super Rugby 2017|
|Free State Stadium|
|Att Horak St, Bloemfontein, 9320, South Africa|
|Team||Losing Bonus Point||Penalty||Tries||Conversions||4 TRY BP||Points|
|Cell C Sharks||0||1||1||1||0||10|