URC – Hollywoodbets Sharks Will Be Determined To Beat Ulster At Home


The Hollywoodbets Sharks who will face Ulster in Durban at 15:00, will have their work cut out to climb the table with only one win in 11 matches, although they will be driven by the fact that a win could possibly see them jump as high as three places.

The Hollywoodbets Sharks will be determined to make the most of their home ground advantage to change their fortunes in the competition when they host Ulster at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, but they will be wary of the fact that they must deliver an effective performance all around as the fifth-placed Irishmen have been in consistent form winning seven of their 11 games.

The pressure will be squarely on the Durbanites who have struggled to close out a few tight games, which has seen them earn six losing bonus points, however, they will draw inspiration from the fact that they have put up a good fight at home, losing three of their matches by four points or fewer.

Adding to the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ motivation, they are closely matched to the opposition on defence, but they will have to sharpen up their attack, as Ulster have scored 79 points more in their 11 matches so far this season.

Lukhanyo Am leads the Hollywoodbets Sharks team to take on the Irish giants, with Rugby World Cup winning prop Vincent Koch set to make his Hollywoodbets Sharks debut off the bench.

SA Rugby Player of the Year winner (for the second successive year) Eben Etzebeth does not mince his words when he reflects on the season so far and his thoughts ahead of the match.

“We haven’t had a good season so far and no excuses, we need to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals and as a collective,” he says.

“Somehow we haven’t been executing our plans and that’s disappointing, but we’ll be looking to rectify that over the remainder of the season and make the last part of it a successful one.

“We’re looking to end strong, there’s always a sense of pride when we wear the Hollywoodbets Sharks jersey and win games and that motivates the guys to not give up, but to make it difficult for the teams coming to Durban.”

Looking at the upcoming game, he admits of the team selection, “As a collective, this was probably the strongest 23 we could have picked for this game so far this season and it’s a big boost having guys like [himself and] Bongi and Vincent Koch back.”

With Ireland having won back-to-back Six Nations Championships, Ulster will be buoyed by their national team’s success, but Etzebeth believes the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ focus should be on themselves, not their opponents.

“We as a Sharks team must get our confidence right for next season and finish this season on a high. Hopefully we can produce a great performance on Saturday. We need to step up in the physicality department, we haven’t had a great set-piece this year and we as South Africans love that battle, but I just feel at the moment we’re letting ourselves down and letting the supporters down with what we’ve produced.

Ulster Rugby Interim Head Coach, Richie Murphy, has named his team for his first match in charge in Round 12 of the United Rugby Championship.

In the first of two matches in South Africa over the next two weekends, Ulster hope to carry on from where they left off before the break, after a bonus-point victory at home to Dragons RFC.

Skipper Iain Henderson captains the side upon his return from Ireland’s Guinness Six Nations campaign, as he lines-up alongside fellow lock, Kieran Treadwell, who starts for the first time since sustaining a rib injury against Harlequins RFC in January.

Murphy selects a strong front row that sees Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff pack down alongside hooker, Tom Stewart, and tighthead prop, Tom O’Toole.

The exciting back row sees Harry Sheridan start at blindside flanker, with David McCann starting on the openside. Nick Timoney starts at eight.

John Cooney and Billy Burns form the half back partnership.

Mike Lowry and Ethan McIlroy start on the left and right wings respectively.

Stuart McCloskey returns to the team’s starting line-up after his Ireland duties as he pairs up with James Hume, who captained his province over the win against Dragons RFC.

Will Addison complete the starting XV at full-back.

Murphy opts for a strong bench with a 6:2 split.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Scott Wilson, Cormac Izuchukwu, Matty Rea and Sean Reffell provide forward options, while Nathan Doak and Jude Postlethwaite cover back options.


Hollywoodbets Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Eduan Keyter, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Ethan Hooker, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 George Cronje, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Phepsi Buthelezi, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Corne Rahl, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Francois Venter.

Ulster RFC: 15 Will Addison, 14 Ethan McIlroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Mike Lowry, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 David McCann, 6 Harry Sheridan, 5 Iain Henderson (c), 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 Tom Stewart, 1 Steven Kitshoff. Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Matty Rea, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Jude Postlethwaite, 23 Sean Reffell.