Knockout Rugby – Featured Durban Blog

Knockout Rugby:

The Cell C Sharks team to face the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in the final Currie Cup clash of the pool stages has been bolstered by two returning Springboks as the team look to finish on a high.

Thomas du Toit and Andre Esterhuizen, released back to their province, have been named in the side to travel to Pretoria for one last push before the semi-finals.

Du Toit takes over from Mzamo Majola who plays off the bench, while Esterhuizen will feature at centre, with co-captain Jeremy Ward shifting to the number 13 jersey and JP Pietersen taking a place amongst the reserves.

In the other change to the starting line-up, Coenie Oosthuizen returns after missing last week’s victory over the Golden Lions due to injury.

Head coach Sean Everitt has added another debutant to the fray after last week’s glowing first match for the Cell C Sharks, Boeta Chamberlain. Andisa Ntsila has been named on the bench and is poised to be the latest new recruit to wear the Black & White jersey.

After two wins – albeit tight victories – the Cell C Sharks have worked their way into a healthy position on the log with the very real chance of securing a home semi-final should they defeat the Blue Bulls and a coupe of other results go their way.

“The team is in a good space right now and hopefully everything falls into place with this last game,” explains wing Kobus van Wyk.

“We’re almost there as a team, small margins have cost us a bit in terms of our rhythm, but everyone has bought into what coach Sean has put together as a campaign and in the games we lost, we lost track of the game plan.”

Both teams have a lot to lose and everything to gain out of this match which just adds to the hype.

“This is going to be a determined Bulls team so we need to go out there and do what we have been doing for the last two weeks. We have the team to do it, we just need to do it. The past three or four weeks have been finals rugby for us, we’ve had to win every game and the team has grown immensely in that time.”


Cell C Sharks

  1. Thomas du Toit
  2. Kerron van Vuuren
  3. Coenie Oosthuizen
  4. Ruben van Heerden
  5. Hyron Andrews
  6. Phepsi Buthelezi
  7. Jacques Vermeulen
  8. Tera Mtembu (c)
  9. Sanele Nohamba
  10. Boeta Chamberlain
  11. Lwazi Mvovo
  12. Andre Esterhuizen
  13. Jeremy Ward (c)
  14. Kobus van Wyk
  15. Aphelele Fassi

16. Dylan Richardson
17. Mzamo Majola
18. John-Hubert Meyer
19. Gideon Koegelenberg
20. Andisa Ntsila*
21. Cameron Wright
22. Rhyno Smith
23. JP Pietersen

*Denotes that the player will be making his Currie Cup debut for the Cell C Sharks.

The post Knockout Rugby appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

Beware of the Bulls:

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will throw the kitchen sink at the Cell C Sharks when the two teams meet this weekend in the final pool match of the 2019 Currie Cup tournament.

For the Cell C Sharks, this is an opportunity to secure a semi-final while the Bulls will be giving it there all for a completely different reason. Either way, there is plenty riding on the outcome of this match. For both teams.

“We’ve made things difficult for ourselves at times from the start,” explains Cell C Sharks hooker Kerron van Vuuren, acknowledging the pressure the team faces this weekend.

“Losing to Griquas and the Pumas early on wasn’t part of the plan obviously, but we’re on the right track now and we’ve pulled together well. The boys are in a good mental space, we know what we need to do and how to get the job done and it’s about putting another good performance together this weekend.”

There are so many permutations that it makes the head spin, but the rising star admits that the team are only focusing on their job.

“We have to be realist about our situation and what we need to go forward, we are going to try and control our controllables and work towards a good win this weekend and whatever else happens, so be it.”

With the Blue Bulls facing the prospect of relegation if they lose, there is no doubt that they will come out all guns blazing in their final game of the season with a semi-final qualification out of reach.

“As the leadership group, we have spoken about this at length,” he points out. “We know that a wounded animal is a dangerous one and the Bulls are a proud union and they’ll be desperate this weekend which makes them very dangerous.

“We know we have to go there with the right mindset, knowing it’s a big game and stick to our set plan.”

With Andre Esterhuizen and Thomas du Toit released back to the province, along with a few other Springboks, their experience and ability will be welcomed ahead of the final pool match.

“It’s always a pleasure having Springboks back in the setup, they’re two great assets to the team and I think they’ll make a massive impact this weekend.”

On a personal note, he admits that playing for the team he has supported is a dream come true.

“I’ve had a great year, I’ve loved every minute and it still feels like a dream for me. Coming from Durban myself, it’s the best thing to be able to play for the Cell C Sharks and have my family support me every week. The fact that I get to represent this union and my province is absolutely amazing. I just want to keep going, keep pushing hard and continually improving.”

Despite his youth, he’s steadily growing in maturity given the responsibilities that have been placed on his shoulders, a challenge he has accepted with determination.

“Maturity comes with game time. I have grown in confidence with my time on the field and I think I’ve matured into the role. I’ve taken on more responsibility and I’m really enjoying it.

“I just want to help the guys bring home the Currie Cup.”

The post Beware of the Bulls appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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