The keenly-awaited Coastal Derby between top of the log Cell C Sharks and second placed DHL Stormers takes tomorrow place in Durban (15:05 SA Time) with the winner to claim the top spot on the South African Vodacom Super Rugby log.
The Cell C Sharks is currently with 20 points at the top of the South African Conference, with their only loss on the 22nd February 2020 in their first match on tour. The DHL Stormers who also has only lost one game against the Blues two weeks ago, is 3 log points behind the Cell C Sharks but played one game less than the Cell Sharks.
The Cell C Sharks will field an unchanged side. Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt rotated his squad on tour to keep the players fresh given the demands on them before their first bye, and as such he has opted to keep a winning formula as far as team selection goes by naming the same match-23.
John Dobson, DHL Stormers head coach, followed another script though as he had a bye weekend to reflect and made several changes to his team for their trip to Durban. Upfront, Springbok prop Frans Malherbe and former Junior Springbok lock Salmaan Moerat return to the starting line-up, with Cobus Wiese coming onto the replacements bench. There are also two new flanks in Ernst van Rhyn and Johan du Toit, who replaces his injured brother, Pieter-Steph.
In the backline, Jean-Luc du Plessis will make his first start of the campaign at flyhalf, with Damian Willemse at fullback and Dillyn Leyds on the wing, while centre Rikus Pretorius is among the replacements along with scrumhalf Paul de Wet and wing Sergeal Petersen.
Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt said: “I’m very happy with the team’s consistency, it’s something that we all – players and management – spoke about and were quite open about what we want to achieve as far as that’s concerned. The guys have put it together for six weeks in a row, they need to do it for another two and then we can have a break and go again.”
DHL Stormers head coach John Dobson said: “The bye was a good chance to look at our game and we want to see some growth in a few different areas on Saturday. South African derbies are always tough games and we are looking forward to the different challenges we will face this weekend.”
Cell C Sharks: 15. Aphelele Fassi, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 13. Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Tyler Paul, 6. James Venter, 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. Ruben van Heerden, 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Kerron van Vuuren, 1. Ox Nche. Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. John-Hubert Meyer, 19. Le Roux Roets, 20. Henco Venter, 21. Sanele Nohamba, 22. Jeremy Ward, 23. Madosh Tambwe.
DHL Stormers: 15. Damian Willemse, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Ruhan Nel, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9. Herschel Jantjies, 8. Juarno Augustus, 7. Johan du Toit, 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 5. JD Schickerling, 4. Salmaan Moerat, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16. Chad Solomon, 17. Kwenzo Blose, 18. Wilco Louw, 19. Cobus Wiese, 20. Jaco Coetzee, 21. Paul de Wet, 22. Rikus Pretorius, 23. Sergeal Petersen.