Preview: Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Cell C Sharks – Featured Durban Blog

Preview: Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Cell C Sharks:

The Vodacom Blue Bulls host the Cell C Sharks on Saturday evening in the final pool match of the 2019 Currie Cup season with both teams attaching huge importance to the outcome of the game.

For the Cell C Sharks, a bonus point win could result in a home semi-final, but delivering a performance filled with character and excellence will be paramount on coach Sean Everitt’s mind as the team look to produce the kind of effort they’ve shown in recent weeks.

The fact that the Bulls are staring down the barrel of possible relegation adds another dimension to the planning, the fact that the Cell C Sharks not only want to perform to a certain standard, but that they face a desperate team who will throw everything at them.

“The Bulls are a physical team, we know that from the past, and they have it all to play for,” explained Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt.

“They’re a proud union and will come out firing but we need to stick to our structures, we must show composure and if we can look after them in the first 20 minutes, that will do us well.

“We know what’s coming, so, from a defence point of view, we need to be really solid and accurate in that department. I thought we did well against the Lions and Cheetahs, defence has been our strength in this campaign, so we need to keep it up.”

Everitt added that being a performance rather than results driven team, it wasn’t so much about log status but rather what they want to get out of the campaign.

“We aren’t taking this week any different to how we normally do: we’re focused on our goals and what we want to achieve out of the season.

“There were a lot of other goals along with winning the Currie Cup, so we’re focusing on our performance rather than our position.”

One of those campaign goals is giving game time to youngsters and just how well have they responded?

“Those youngsters that we brought through played in the Under 19 final last year, they know the feeling that comes with winning a trophy and it’s important for us that they work really hard at their game to try and achieve that again. Winning a senior Currie Cup would be really special for them, particularly in their first year of senior rugby. They’re definitely motivated, they’ve deserved their opportunities and shown what they can do at senior level.”

Although two Springboks returning and finding a place for them either in the starting line-up or on the bench, given that others have deputised well in their absence, could prove a conundrum as far as team selection goes, Everitt said he had no hesitation in naming the Bok duo of Thomas du Toit and Andre Esterhuizen to start.

“It’s been quite simple for me because I’m a firm believer that if you’ve played at the highest level and you come back to your franchise, that you deserve to start because you don’t come back a worse player. I think they need to be rewarded and at the same time, they are still in the mix for the World Cup, so they still need game time.”

Co-captain Tera Mtembu added that the focus for the team remains on themselves. While there will always be analysis on the opposition and how they play, areas of strength to counter and weakness to exploit, it is more about the Cell C Sharks and what they can do.

“Although the Bulls have some really good players, we’re focusing on ourselves. We have a big job at hand.

Although the various permutations that exist leading into this final week of the pool stages have been in the back of the everyone’s mind, he admitted that they still have a job to do or those permutations mean very little.

“We have to win to get into the semis, so our focus is on what we want to achieve for the season and for the game as well.”

The post Preview: Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Cell C Sharks appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

Vital Last Round:

The Cell C Sharks Under 21s face a must-win clash with Free State in Bloemfontein on Saturday when the two teams meet in their second round SA Rugby Under 21 Championship fixture to close out the pool stages of the competition.

Coach Mike Vowles has made a number of changes, both upfront and in the backline as he looks to one final big game before the knockouts.

In the front row, Cullen van der Merwe replaces Donovan Grant at hooker while Hanru Jacobs is named at tighthead prop with Cleopas Kuniana moving to the bench.

Adam Mountford returns after missing last week’s action, taking over from Vian Fourie on the flank and in the final change amongst the forwards, Evan Roos is back from making his senior debut for the Cell C Sharks in their Currie Cup victory over the Golden Lions, comes in for Jacques Ackerman at eighthman.

Amongst the backs, with Murray Koster shifting to centre in place of Le Roux Malan, Marius Jonker slots in at flyhalf while Caleb Dingaan comes in for Henk Cilliers on the wing.

This final round match is crucial for the Cell C Sharks Under 21s. Currently in fourth spot, they have the Golden Lions chasing them. Both teams have 19 log points with the Lions have a points differential of 78 behind the Durban side, so that is not an issue, although a win will set up good momentum ahead of the semi-finals next weekend.

CELL C SHARKS UNDER 21’s


1. James Scott
2. Cullen van der Merwe
3. Hanru Jacobs
4. JJ van der Mescht
5. Emile van Heerden
6. Adam Mountford (c)
7. Jeandre Labuschagne
8. Evan Roos
9. Jaden Hendrikse
10. Rynhardt Jonker
11. Caleb Dingaan
12. Murray Koster
13. Donald Falconer
14. Asanda Kunene
15. Thaakir Abrahams


Replacements
16. Mark Venter
17. Sean Barnes
18. Cleopas Kuniana
19. Dylan Weideman
20. Jacques Ackerman
21. Xavier Swartbooi
22. Le Roux Malan
23. Onke Jiba

The post Vital Last Round appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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