Can The Airlink Pumas Remain Unbeaten Against Cell C Sharks?


The Easter Weekend will serve up a sweet dose of Currie Cup Premier Division action as the four fifth-round matches are spread over three days, from Friday to Sunday, involving all eight provincial teams. The Cell C Sharks welcome holders and current league leaders, the Airlink Pumas, to Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban, hoping to bounce back from their 34-22 loss to the Fidelity ADT Lions last week in Johannesburg.

The Cell C Sharks will have to counter the Mpumalanga side’s fast-paced, quick-handling game which has seen them score an average of almost 50 points per game in their four wins so far.

The defending Currie Cup champions come to Durban off the back of a successful season so far, continuing their good form of last year when they won the domestic title for the first time.

They have won all four of their fixtures to date and come to Durban off the back of an impressive 61-21 victory over the Toyota Free State Cheetahs last weekend.

The Cell C Sharks, currently in fourth position on the eight team table, will be looking for a strong showing on Friday evening. They were impressive in their first half effort against the Fidelity ADT Lions last weekend and the previous round put one over their coastal rivals, DHL Western Province.

Head coach of the Cell C Sharks Currie Cup side, Joey Mongalo, has made a number of changes to his team this week, starting with Dian Bleuler replacing Khwezi Mona in the front row and then lock Ockie Barnard coming in for Corne Rahl who shifts to the flank in place of Jeandre Labuschagne in the final change to the pack.

Amongst the backs, Tiaan Fourie makes a start after playing off the bench, replacing Bradley Davids at scrumhalf while Anothony Volmink comes in on the wing with Marnus Potgieter playing at outside centre and Murray Koster taking over from the injured Francois Venter at inside centre.

Nevaldo Fleurs is in for Yaw Penxe at fullback is the final change to the starting XV.

Airlink Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse made only four changes for his team’s trip to Durban.

At the back, Ali Mgijima replaces Wian van Niekerk at the inside centre while Jade Stighling replaces Lundi Msenge on the wing. The last change at the back is Giovan Snyman who is promoted from the bench to replace Chriswill September at scrumhalf.

The only change up front is Llewellyn Classen who is promoted from the bench to replace Eduan Swart at hooker.


Cell C Sharks: 15. Nevaldo Fleurs, 14. Phikolomzi Sobahle, 13. Marnus Potgieter, 12. Murray Koster, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Tiaan Fourie, 8. James Venter, 7. Corne Rahl, 6. Thembelani Bholi, 5. Reniel Hugo (c), 4. Ockie Barnard, 3. Khutha Mchunu, 2. Fez Mbatha, 1. Dian Bleuler. Replacements: 16. Dameon Venter, 17. Khwezi Mona, 18. Weihahn Herbst, 19. Marco de Witt, 20. Tinotenda Mavesere, 21. Zee Mkhabela, 22. Lionel Cronje, 23. Josh Jonas.

Airlink Pumas: 15. Devon Williams, 14. Etienne Taljaard, 13. Diego Appollis, 12. Ali Mgijima, 11. Jade Stighling, 10. Tinus de Beer, 9. Giovan Snyman, 8. Kwanda Dimaza, 7. Francois Kleinhans, 6. Andre Fouche, 5. Shane Kirkwood (c), 4. Deon Slabbert, 3. Ignatius Prinsloo, 2. Eduan Swart, 1. Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16. PJ Jacobs, 17. Cameron Dawson, 18. Juice Gumede, 19. Malembe Mpofu, 20. Ruwald van der Merwe, 21. Chriswill September, 22. Brandon Thomson, 23. Stefan Coetzee.