With Vodacom Super Rugby just a matter of two weeks away, the Cell C Sharks will be taking on the Emirates Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a big hit-out match in major preparation for the upcoming tournament.
Head coach Robert du Preez has not hesitated in throwing a handful of young guns into the deep-end, but what better platform from which to springboard the promising careers they have ahead of them.
The likes of Kerron van Vuuren as the starting hooker, with prop Khutha Mchunu, lock JJ van der Mescht and victorious Cell C Sharks Under 19 captain and eighthman Phendulani ‘Phepsi’ Buthelezi all likely to put in big performances off the bench, hoping to put up their hands for further inclusion during the course of the season.
However, by far the team consists of stalwarts and major players in the Cell C Sharks set-up, demonstrating the coaches’ desire to pick a settled team for their opening clash against the Sunwolves (away) on Saturday 16 February.
There are a number of players missing from this match, most notably those who have done duty for their clubs in Japan until recently, as well as some Springboks after a heavy workload in 2018, but they will certainly be thrown in action when the competition starts.
Louis Schreuder, the season captain, will lead the side on Sunday but he’ll have ample input and support.
This match is part of a Superhero double-header festival of rugby, with the DHL Stormers hosting the Vodacom Bulls in the other clash.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements – from: Akker van der Merwe, Mzamo Majola, Khutha Mchunu, JJ van der Mescht, Luke Stringer, Wian Vosloo, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Rhyno Smith, Jeremy Ward, Aphelele Fassi.
Date: Sunday, February 3
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Divan Uys
TMO: Christie du Preez