The Cell C Sharks have named an announced an unchanged starting line-up for a third match in a row for Saturday’s important home clash against the Vodacom Bulls, when the three Du Preez brothers – flyhalf Robert and loose forward twins Jean-Luc and Dan – will make history.
It is the first time in local Vodacom Super Rugby history that three brothers are picked in the same match-23. Dan, who missed out in recent weeks, will start on the bench after recovering from a long-term injury lay-off.
Another set of brothers will also be in action in Durban on Saturday – Vodacom Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman will start for the visitors, while his older brother Juan has been included on the Cell C Sharks’ bench.
Saturday’s encounter in Durban starts at 17h15 and will be televised live on SuperSport 1.
The Durbanites will be buoyed by their recent away win over the Blues in Auckland and their very credible, one-point loss to the Hurricanes in their last tour match in Napier. A lot more is at stake in Saturday’s feature match besides local pride and the league points on offer.
Meanwhile, the Vodacom Bulls have recalled fit-again locks Lood de Jager and RG Snyman to their starting team, with Jason Jenkins moving to the bench. Andre Warner was also declared fit and replaces Embrose Papier as reserve scrumhalf.
With the Emirates Lions and the DHL Stormers both not in action this weekend, it means that the winner of Saturday’s game will be able to make some significant strides on the local conference log and the important race for playoff positions.
As things stand at the moment, the Emirates Lions are firmly in the lead with 25 league points, 11 points more than the second-placed Durbanites (14 points), the DHL Stormers are on 13, while the men from Pretoria are fourth at the moment on nine points. However, the men from Johannesburg and Cape Town have played eight games each, which is one more than the Cell C Sharks and two more than their Gauteng neighbours.
In the only other SA Conference match this weekend, the Jaguares from Argentina tackle the Rebels at 07h15 on Saturday in Melbourne.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks coach, Robert du Preez: “Over the past two weeks, we really started to click as unit on-field and we want to carry that momentum going into our next two matches, before the break. This is going to be a typical local derby match and it’s important that we stick to our plans and execute them accurately on the day. It’s always a special feeling to play in front of our home fans and we are happy to be back home.”
John Mitchell, the Vodacom Bulls coach: “One thing we can bank on is that this will require a huge effort from our side if we want to beat the Cell C Sharks at home. They will not make it easy for us or allow us to rule the game. This will be hard work and we need to be prepared for that. Lood and RG bring a nice mix to our skill set and I am expecting them to be influential in the match.”
CELL C SHARKS vs VODACOM BULLS
Head to head:
Cell C Sharks won: 9
Vodacom Bulls won: 15
Drawn matches: 2
Cell C Sharks points: 554
Vodacom Bulls points: 510
Average score: 21-20
Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Vodacom Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Date: Saturday, 14 April
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs and Cwengile Jadezweni
Television match official: Marius Jonker
TV: SuperSport 1
Other Round 9 fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 13 April
07h35: Hurricanes vs Chiefs, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday, 14 April
05h05: Sunwolves v Blues, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo;
07h15: Rebels v Jaguares, AAMI Park, Melbourne
09h35: Highlanders v Brumbies, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
11h45: Waratahs v Reds, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Byes: DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions, Crusaders