The Durbanites were boosted by the availability of Sbu Nkosi, who has shrugged off his injury concerns. That allowed them to name an unchanged starting fifteen for the third time in a row, and the same match-23 for a second successive game.
Meanwhile, Eben Etzebeth (lock), Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) and Dan du Plessis (centre) will all make their first start of the season for the DHL Stormers in this coastal derby.
Etzebeth’s inclusion in the second row is the only change to the forward pack, with fit-again prop Wilco Louw among the replacements. Jantjies, who scored the winning try in last Saturday’s dramatic win over the Emirates Lions in Cape Town, replaces the injured Jano Vermaak. Du Plessis comes in at outside centre for Ruhan Nel.
Robert du Preez’s side have won four of their last five games against their Cape rivals, but their one defeat in that run came in their most recent meeting, in Round 18 of last season. A home win will give them three wins in a row for the first time since the beginning of 2017.
A huge scrum contest is expected on Saturday, especially with the home side having won all 21 of their scrums this season, the most of any side and one of six teams to still have a 100% scrum success rate after two rounds of action.
What they said:
Cell C Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am reckons the previous two weeks’ results have given them some nice momentum but he cautioned that this weekend will be another tough derby challenge: “We couldn’t ask for much better that the two big wins, it’s a confidence booster for us going into this week’s match against the Stormers. Like us, the Stormers have a big pack and a good backline, we know we need to pitch up as far as physicality goes.”
DHL Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team are under no illusions about the challenge that awaits them in Durban: “We know that we will have to be sharp in every area if we are to get the result we want in Durban. Our focus is on being as accurate as possible so that we are able to impose ourselves and our plans on the opposition.”
Cell C Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.
DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak. Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Dillyn Leyds.
Head to head:
Cell C Sharks won: 16
DHL Stormers won: 13
Cell C Sharks points: 602
DHL Stormers points: 582
Average score: 21-20
Date: Saturday 2 March
SA time: 17h15
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Divan Uys
Television Match Official: Willie Vos
Other Round 3 matches this weekend:
Friday, 1 March
08h35: Hurricanes v Brumbies – Central Energy Arena, Palmerston North
10h45: Rebels v Highlanders – AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, 2 March
08h35: Chiefs v Sunwolves – FMG Stadium, Hamilton
10h45: Reds v Crusaders – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
23h40: Jaguares v Blues – Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires