Preview – Cell C Sharks Expect A Motivated Toyota Cheetahs

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The Toyota Cheetahs return to action for the first time in three weeks on Friday evening when they play the Cell C Sharks in a round five Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match in Durban with kick-off set for 19h00. 

The Toyota Cheetahs are currently second on the log 4 points behind the Bulls with one game in hand. The Sharks are 2 points behind the Cheetahs in the third place.

Henco Venter will lead a relatively unchanged Cell C Sharks side with regular captain Lukhanyo Am unavailable for selection due to a hand injury that will see him out for approximately four weeks, Venter (flanker) will take over the captaincy for this match against his former team, as the Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt looks to keep intact a winning group.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt said that they expect a Cheetahs side that is motivated after the decision was made to share the points with the Lions after the Covid19-postponed match was declared a draw.

“They would not have been happy with getting two points against the Lions. I think they would have expected to beat the Lions after their performance against the Bulls.”

“They didn’t play for a long time before the start of the competition and they put the Pumas away in 40 minutes.

“They didn’t show any signs of rustiness [back in Round One] and we don’t expect them to be off their game, we expect them to be at their best.”

Hawies Fourie has made some minor tweaks to his Toyota Cheetahs match squad for their trip to Durban.

Amongst the Toyota Cheetahs' backs, William Small-Smith comes back into the midfield at outside centre in place of Benhard Janse van Rensburg.

In the forward pack, Aidon Davis is entrusted with the No 8 duties following the departure of Jasper Wiese to English side Leicester Tigers.

Welcome news for the Free Staters is the inclusion on the bench of Springbok loose forward Oupa Mohoje for what could be his first competitive match in more than two years on the sideline due to injury problems.

Toyota Head Coach Hawies Fourie said in a media interview that the two weeks that they did not play can hurt the Cheetahs.

“It is quite difficult to overcome, the cancelled match and the bye breaks our momentum, but we know what we need to do. We have three games remaining."

“We are still in the running for this competition, but Friday’s game against the Sharks is the most important one for us.”

“At the moment we still control our own destiny. We are still four points behind the Bulls and we have three games left, so we can still finish above them on the log.”

Cell C Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter (captain), 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Werner Kok.

Toyota Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais. Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Jeandré Rudolph, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit.