Sharks face Stormers in Rainbow Cup opener

Sharks face Stormers in Rainbow Cup opener

Following a week's delay due to logistical issues with the Rainbow Cup, the Cell C Sharks will begin their Rainbow Cup SA campaign this weekend when they face the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium.

Curwin Bosch

This year's domestic action will ramp up a gear as the local franchises fight it out against each other home and away in their local version of the Rainbow Cup.

With the British and Irish Lions tour squad announcement expected in the not too distant future there will be players hoping to put their hands up for selection and others wanting to consolidate their spots in the side.

Springbok skipper and Sharks newbie Siya Kolisi featured during the pre-season Preparation Series and cach Sean Everitt is ready for Kolisi to make an impact.

“Siya arrived at The Sharks under a lot of pressure and he’s certainly stood up and trained really hard,” Everitt told the Cell C Sharks website.

“We saw in some of the telling contributions he made against the Bulls that he’s definitely made a step up.

"He’s had really good preparation coming into this game, he’s made vast improvements in his conditioning and we’re happy with where he is. We look forward to what he can bring, he’s a guy the rest of the team look up to, he brings a lot of experience from a leadership point of view and I’m sure his team mates take a lot of confidence out of him being on the field.”

Kolisi will pack down with a strong group of forwards for the clash which includes a handful of Springboks. Despite the potential in the Sharks pack, they will be up against a formidable Stormers front eight.

“With their pack at full strength, the challenge for us will come at scrum and lineout time, but in saying that, we’ve also done exceptionally well against them in the past, we had a turnover scrum against them that won us the game in Super Rugby last year.

“With Ox (Ntche) and Thomas (Du Toit) in the Springbok fold and Fez Mbatha who must be knocking on the door now with his performances in the Currie Cup, that’s a formidable front row on its own.

"Then you add the likes of Reniel Hugo and Ruben van Heerden who has quietly gone about his job really well and gained a lot of experience. It’s going to be an interesting tussle out there and the team that’s up for it on the day will get the honours in that department of the game.

“We have a dynamic loose trio with Siya, (Sikhumbuzo) Notshe and Henco Venter who all bring a lot of experience and there are two Springboks in our back row. I think it will be an equal battle to start off with.”

The Stormers have showed that they can take a varied approach to matches and Everitt understands that threat, however if his side can get on top it will narrow down their options.

“I think we might get a bit of a mixture from what we’re used to, they will take a lot of confidence out of their performance in the preparation games where they scored some great tries.

"Their attack game was certainly a little different to what they showed in the Currie Cup where they were a bit more set-piece orientated.

“But if we can nullify them upfront, they’re going to battle to play that attacking style of rugby they played in the Preparation Series.”

This will be a first match against the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium for the Sharks but a second visit after they played the Lions there in 2019. It's still going to be a new experience for Everitt and his side.

“It’s a new experience for us but our players enjoy being in new environments and I think that’s why we tour well. It’s exciting times for us and we would love to put our marker down at the Cape Town Stadium like we have at Newlands a few times.”

Cell C Sharks

1. Ox Nche, 2. Fez Mbatha, 3. Thomas du Toit, 4. Ruben van Heerden, 5.Reniel Hugo, 6. Siya Kolisi, 7. Henco Venter, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 9. Grant Williams, 10. Curwin Bosch, 11. Yaw Penxe, 12. Jeremy Ward, 13. Lukhanyo Am (C), 14. Sbu Nkosi, 15. Aphelele Fassi


16. Kerron van Vuuren, 17. Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18. Wiehahn Herbst, 19. JJ van der Mescht, 20. Phepsi Buthelezi, 21. Sanele Nohamba, 22. Manie Libbok, 23. Werner Kok


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