The keenly-awaited Coastal Derby in Durban – where the DHL Stormers enjoy a 40% win rate – kicks off at 15h05 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport1.
Sean Everitt rotated his squad on tour to keep the players fresh given the demands on the KwaZulu-Natalians before their first bye, and as such he has opted to keep a winning formula as far as team selection goes by naming the same match-23.
John Dobson, DHL Stormers head coach, followed another script though as he had a bye weekend to reflect and made several changes to his team for their trip to Durban.
Upfront, Springbok prop Frans Malherbe and former Junior Springbok lock Salmaan Moerat return to the starting line-up, with Cobus Wiese coming onto the replacements bench. There are also two new flanks in Ernst van Rhyn and Johan du Toit, who replaces his injured brother, Pieter-Steph.
In the backline, Jean-Luc du Plessis will make his first start of the campaign at flyhalf, with Damian Willemse at fullback and Dillyn Leyds on the wing, while centre Rikus Pretorius is among the replacements along with scrumhalf Paul de Wet and wing Sergeal Petersen.
The Cell C Sharks have won five and lost two of their last seven Vodacom Super Rugby games against the DHL Stormers. In the last two encounters between the two coastal sides, they’ve shared one win apiece with neither side scoring 20 points or more.
The KwaZulu-Natalians are also on a good run at home. They have won three of their last four games at home (L1), which includes a come-from-behind win against the Vodacom Bulls in Round 1 and last weekend’s good performance against 2019 runners up, the Jaguares.
Similarly, the DHL Stormers are doing well in recent local derbies and have won five of their last seven Vodacom Super Rugby games against fellow South African opposition (L2).
What they said:
Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt said: “I’m very happy with the team’s consistency, it’s something that we all – players and management – spoke about and were quite open about what we want to achieve as far as that’s concerned. The guys have put it together for six weeks in a row, they need to do it for another two and then we can have a break and go again.”
DHL Stormers head coach John Dobson said: “The bye was a good chance to look at our game and we want to see some growth in a few different areas on Saturday. South African derbies are always tough games and we are looking forward to the different challenges we will face this weekend.”
Cell C Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Madosh Tambwe.
DHL Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain). Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Sergeal Petersen.
Head to head:
Cell C Sharks won: 17
DHL Stormers won: 14
Cell C Sharks points: 625
DHL Stormers points: 607
Average score: 20-19
Date: Saturday, 14 March
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 15h05 (SA time)
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Divan Uys (South Africa)
Television match official: Willie Vos (South Africa)