Stepping Up – Featured Durban Blog

Stepping Up:

The SuperSport Rugby Challenge gets underway this weekend when the Cell C Sharks XV travel to Kimberley to take on Griquas at Tafel Lager Park in a round one match.

The tournament, split up into three conferences, a North, South and Central region, of which the Cell C Sharks and Griquas feature in the latter. They are joined by the Leopards, Griffons and Cheetahs.

Losing finalists in 2017, Griquas, will be a tough ask first match up, having the luxury of continuity from this competition, into Currie Cup and back again, but it’s a challenge worth taking on.

The 15-team tournament, which also includes the Namibia Welwitschias (North Pool) as a guest of the 14 SA Rugby provincial unions, pays prize-money of R500 000 for the winners.

Head Coach Ricardo Loubscher has the good fortune of being able to name a few players with senior Cell C Sharks experience, Jean Droste and Wian Vosloo amongst the forwards and Garth April, Jeremy Ward and Johan Deysel in the backline.

The match kicks off at 3pm on Saturday.

The Cell C Sharks XV
1. Jordan Els
16. Andrew du Plessis
2. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Kyle Whyte
3. Khutha Mchunu
18. Andrew Evans
4. Gideon Koegelenberg
19. Cornelius Otto
5. Jean Droste
20. Francois de Villiers
6. Wian Vosloo
21. Alwayno Visagie
7. Rikus Zwart
22. Danrich Visagie
8. Kwanda Dimaza

9. Grant Williams
10. Garth April
11. Ilunga Mukendi
12. Jeremy Ward
13. Johan Deysel (C)
14. Morne Joubert
15. Courtney Winnaar

The post Stepping Up appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers:

The Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers go head-to-head in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby match with plenty riding on the result – for both sides chasing a good finish in the South African Conference.

With the Emirates Lions leading the conference with 25 points, there is a fight between the Vodacom Bulls (second), the Cell C Sharks (third) and the DHL Stormers (fourth) with just one point separating the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks (both on 14) with the DHL Stormers (on 13).

Which adds to the spice of this match, notwithstanding the two teams’ desire to play winning rugby in a season that hasn’t delivered as much as the teams would have liked.

“We are all very disappointed, the players were really hurting after the loss to the Bulls, but it’s something that has to be put behind us and we need to move forward, as tough as that is,” explained head coach Robert du Preez.

“But it’s a new opportunity and one of our focus points this week was about not going into our shell now, we still have to go out there and really enjoy it.
“There has been really great energy in the camp, the boys are well rested, it’s our second week back from overseas and the boys are rested and energised.”

To say that this match is a must-win, make-or-break fixture is putting it lightly.

“This game is very important for us, for both teams, a win on Saturday will turn our season around,” said the coach of the importance riding on this match.

Although it’s clichéd, it nevertheless rings true for every game: the match is won and lost upfront. If the forwards dominate, the backs get the ball going forward and that puts the opposition defences under pressure.

But a failure to assert dominance puts pressure everywhere and that’s not what the Cell C Sharks will want to happen.

“This match is all about the pack, about forward dominance,” du Preez explained, “and if we don’t get that, it will be a long afternoon for us. Scrums, lineouts – it’s going to be a real set-piece battle.

“I know the DHL  Stormers will try to target us there, but we will be ready for them. For us, the set-pieces are going to be important and we need to get ascendancy in any which way we can.”

The post Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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