EPCR Challenge Cup – Hollywoodbets Sharks Made Minimal Changes For Dragons RFC


The Hollywoodbets Sharks travel to Wales for the final round of the pool stages in this year’s EPCR Challenge Cup to take on Dragons RFC at Rodney Parade in Newport on Sunday at 19:30 (SA Time). 

A win in this match will afford the team the opportunity to remain top of the pool and with that, home ground advantage in the play-off round. There is another motivation too, that of keeping up good form and maintaining it going forward.

Director of Rugby Neil Powell admits going into this match that despite last week’s emphatic victory over Oyonnax at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, there can be no resting on laurels for this final pool game.
“We have to actively go out there against the Dragons this week and go make it happen.

“We know the challenge we’re up against, not just the opposition but the weather conditions we will face in Wales where it’s mostly in the minuses.

“We’re happy to have a win, it was much-needed, and while there were a lot of positives out of that game, there are things we still need to work on. But a good foundation to build on for the game against the Dragons.”

Given the likely conditions, a tight match is expected. And these kinds of physical battles are often when close-quarter defence is tested the most.

“There was a 10-minute period last week when we defended our 22 and held Oyonnax out, managing to prevent them from scoring any points. So, from a defensive perspective, it was a really good performance from the boys; not perfect but we were proud of the commitment and effort shown.

“The focus for us going into this game is that if we want to be successful there, we can’t have any areas of our game that aren’t functioning to potential. We need to be clinical in every area.”

Once again, there are minimal changes to the starting XV, with James Venter and Tino Mavesere swapping jerseys, in the one change to the forwards, with Jaden Hendrikse and Grant Williams doing the same in the backline.

Hollywoodbets Sharks: 1 Ox Nche, 2 Fez Mbatha, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 4 Corne’ Rahl, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 James Venter, 7 Jeandre “Lappies” Labuschagne, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 10 Curwin Bosch, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 12 Francois Venter, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 14 Werner Kok, 15 Aphelele Fassi. Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Tinotenda Mavesere, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.