Cell C Sharks Change A Lot To Line-up For Connacht


After completing a tough and demanding five-match schedule that includes two matches in the Heineken Champions Cup and three in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, Cell C Sharks have rung the changes for Saturday’s VURC clash with Connacht in Galway at 19h15 (SA Time).

Director of Rugby Neil Powell has remained in Durban to prepare for next week’s big game against Bordeaux Begles and has entrusted Currie Cup Head Coach, Joey Mongalo with the coaching reigns for this match. Mongalo has been in The Sharks’ coaching set-up since June 2022, after exiting his role as Vodacom Bulls defence coach, and has earned a huge amount of respect within The Sharks structures, the trust he commands has led to this decision.

Speaking after his team dispatched the Vodacom Bulls 47-20 last week, Powell emphasised the need to keep his squad fresh, the players’ workload managed as well as give opportunities to players throughout the squad.

Given a heavy programme coming up, with Heineken Champions Cup home and away matches to Bordeaux and Harlequins respectively in the following two weeks, most of the players who have contributed heavily over the last month remain in Durban and the Cell C Sharks side named to play this weekend shows the re-introduction of many players who now get the opportunity to shine.

Reniel Hugo will lead a Cell C Sharks side that shows numerous changes, with flank Henco Venter, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg and wing Marnus Potgieter retaining their places in the starting XV and a further six players who had roles in the matchday 23 against the Bulls included for this match.

It’s an exciting side that Mongalo has selected to take on the Irish team that has registered four wins from their 11 matches to date. The Cell C Sharks have enjoyed a successful run of form and with two games in hand, will feel that their six wins from nine matches have them in a healthy position at the halfway stage of their campaign.

Still, they’re playing away from home in freezing conditions and will know that the good work in the last month is not any guarantee of success. It’s important over a long season that there is squad rotation, that the Springboks’ workload is carefully managed and when they’re not available or being rested, then those campaigning for positions show their ability and desire to compete at the top and to make the club proud.

Cell C Sharks: 1. Ntuthuko Mchunu, 2. Fezo Mbatha, 3. Carlü Sadie, 4. Thembelani Bholi, 5. Reniel Hugo (c), 6. James Venter, 7. Henco Venter, 8. Celimpilo Gumede, 9. Cameron Wright, 10. Nevaldo Fleurs, 11. Marnus Potgieter, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 13. Murray Koster, 14. Yaw Penxe, 15. Anthony Volmink. Replacements: 16. Kerron van Vuuren, 17. Dian Bleuler, 18. Khutha Mchunu, 19. Ockie Barnard, 20. Corne Rahl, 21. Grant Williams, 22. Lionel Cronje, 23. Ethan Hooker