The Sharks Looking For Their Second Win On Tour


Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen will take over the captaincy duties from regular skipper Lukhanyo Am, who is being rested, for the Cell C Sharks' fourth-round Vodacom Super Rugby match with the Rebels on Saturday in Ballarat.

History will be made in Ballarat, as the fixture marks the first-ever regional game of Super Rugby in Australia in the competitions' twenty-five-year history. The clash also marks the first time the club has played a home game away from AAMI Park in its ten years of existence. 

The Sharks have worked hard at the mistakes they made last weekend against the Hurricanes (22-38) with a lot of time spent on ironing out the problems in the line-outs. The Sharks will be looking for their third win this season, second on tour, against the Rebels who won their first match of the season against the Waratahs (24-10) last weekend.

Jermaine Ainsley and Billy Meakes are set to bring up their 50th Super Rugby games. Ainsley, signed with Melbourne in 2018, will make his second start of this season, replacing Ruan Smith at tight-head prop. 

He will be joined in the front row by newly re-signed prop Matt Gibbon and Steve Misa who will be making his run-on debut at hooker.  

Matt To’omua and Reece Hodge have both succumbed to groin complaints and will miss the fixture, paving the way for Andrew Deegan and Andrew Kellaway to start.

Meanwhile, Andrew Deegan comes in for Matt To'omua, marking his first start in Super Rugby. Tom English will also make his first appearance for 2020 off the bench.

Jeremy Ward comes into the starting line-up as a replacement for Am while Curwin Bosch has rejoined his teammates Down Under after returning from a family bereavement. Springbok Makazole Mapimpi has recovered from his concussion and is also back in the starting fifteen.

Upfront, Springbok prop Thomas du Toit is back in the front row after his late withdrawal last week in Wellington due to illness. A rotation at scrumhalf means a start for Sanele Nohamba in place of Louis Schreuder. 

Meanwhile, Boeta Chamberlain has returned to South Africa after failing the return to play protocol after he was concussed last weekend. Lwazi Mvovo, who was called up in his place, is included on the bench.

“Thomas caught a virus a couple of days before the match against the Hurricanes, he felt better on Saturday morning but became feverish again once we got to the stadium so we had to withdraw him,” head coach Sean Everitt confirmed. “Curwin is good to go and slots straight back into the team,” said the coach. “Sanele Nohamba did a job for us at 10 and did a good job there, but he is more cover than a starting flyhalf.”

The teams:

Rebels – 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (captain), 14. Andrew Kellaway, 13. Campbell Magnay, 12. Billy Meakes, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Andrew Deegan, 9. Ryan Louwrens, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Richard Hardwick, 6. Michael Wells, 5. Matt Philip, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 2. Steven Misa, 1. Matt Gibbon. Replacements: 16. Anaru Rangi, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Gideon Koegelenberg, 20. Angus Cottrell, 21. Rob Leota, 22. Frank Lomani, 23. Tom English.

Cell C Sharks: 15. Aphelele Fassi, 14. Madosh Tambwe, 13. Jeremy Ward, 12. Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Curwin Bosch, 9. Sanele Nohamba, 8. Sikumbuzo Notshe, 7. Tyler Paul, 6. James Venter, 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. Ruben van Heerden, 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Kerron van Vuuren, 1. Ox Nche. Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Miami Majola, 18. John-Hubert Meyer, 19. Le Roux Roets, 20. Hence Venter, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Marius Louw, 23. Lwazi Mvovo.