Cell C Sharks Determined To Bounce Back Against Dragons


The Cell C Sharks will host the Dragons in Durban on Friday at 19h30 in the opening match of the weekend. The hosts will be determined to bounce back from their defeat against Edinburgh last week when they meet the Dragons, as they attempt to power their way back up the log after slipping down from sixth to eighth place last weekend.

After four wins in a row before their defeat, they will see a victory as non-negotiable to get their season back on track against the Welsh outfit, who have lost their last two fixtures against South African opponents.

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has the luxury of freshening up the pack after the sterling work they have done, giving some of his hard-working forwards a respite, although their valued performances of late mean they have been included in the matchday 23, providing serious options off the bench.

In all, there are five changes to last week’s side, four of those in the pack.

In the second row, Le Roux Roets gets a start in Reniel Hugo’s place while there is an all-new back row comprising James Venter for Siya Kolisi, Jeandre Labuschagne for Henco Venter and Phepsi Buthelezi coming in for Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

Jaden Hendrikse replacing Grant Williams is the only change to a backline retained almost intact to provide stability and build continuity.

With Siya Kolisi playing off the bench, tighthead prop Thomas du Toit is handed the captaincy.

Casting his eye over their opponents this week, Everitt believes that the Dragons will be stronger than their recent form of late.

“All the European teams will be stronger than what we’ve faced over the last couple of weeks because they’re getting their players back from Six Nations duty.

“So no team in this competition can be underestimated. If you’re off your game on the day, you can get big hiding.”

But for the Cell C Sharks, this is about putting in a big performance.

“For us, it’s about being more accurate in our execution and hoping to improve on Friday night.”

Josh Lewis will hit a half-century of appearances for Dragons. Lewis is named at fly-half for the Round 14 fixture at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban as boss Dean Ryan makes nine changes to the starting line-up.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams joins Lewis at halfback while the backline also sees call-ups for wing Jordan Olowofela and full-back Ioan Davies.

Wales international trio Ross Moriarty, Will Rowlands and Leon Brown all return in the pack.

Prop Greg Bateman and lock Joe Davies are also included and set to make their first appearances on the South African tour.

Wales back-row Taine Basham is named among the replacements, where there are all returns for Fiji international front row Mesake Doge and scrum-half Lewis Jones.

“Sharks have a huge set piece, huge driving line out, huge midfield and huge kicking game,” said Ryan.

“Things that we had challenges with last week (against the Bulls) will be challenged again this week. We must work out how we can be smart and how we can impose ourselves within the game.

“It’s been great to have the Wales internationals join us in camp,” he added. “Some have had game time and come ready, others haven’t so it’s about integrating them back in.

“These two weeks have been about getting us ready for the most consistent run of games we will face this year at the end of this season.

“Some of our internationals play this week and some will be back playing over the next few weeks.”

Weather: 23° with 7km/h SW wind, partially cloudy with 92% humidity.
Prediction: Cell C Sharks by 12


Cell C Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Jeandré Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Boeta Chamberlain.

Dragons: 15 Ioan Davies, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Ben Fry, 6 Harri Keddie (captain), 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Greg Bateman.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Mesake Doge, 19 Huw Taylor, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Will Reed, 23 Jordan Williams.