The Durban side beat Eastern Province by 47-23 for a winning start to the competition, alongside the Leopards and Lions.
The Leopards won 36-25 against Toyota Free State in Potchefstroom on the opening day, while the Lions edged the Vodacom Bulls 32-30 at Loftus B in Pretoria on the same day. DHL Western Province had a bye.
The KwaZulu-Natalians travelled down the coast to Nelson Mandela Bay for their opener against the EP Elephants and left the Isaac Wolfson Stadium with a full house of points on Saturday. They scored seven tries in their win over the home side, who managed two tries themselves.
The Cell C Sharks’ pack dominated proceedings, with five of their seven five-pointers coming from the forwards.
The Leopards started their campaign with an impressive win against Toyota Free State in Potchefstroom. The home side started strongly and held a commanding 22-8 lead at the break, before the Bloemfonteiners came back in the second half.
The team from North West scored five tries to four, but where they converted four of those, the Free Staters only managed one and that cost them a second bonus point in the end.
The Lions delivered a warning to the other sides in the competition by beating the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria, by 32-30 thanks to a brilliant comeback in the second half.
The home side held a 17-8 lead at the break, but could not contain their visitors in the second half of a very tight match, with a conversion proving the difference between the sides.
It is clear that the Jozi side, loaded with Junior Springboks, will be a serious contender to lift the Cup at the end of the competition.
Round two kicks off on Friday when the Vodacom Bulls travel to Durban to face the Cell C Sharks. On Saturday, Toyota Free State host the Eastern Province, and on Sunday, the Leopards will tackle DHL Western Province in Cape Town. The Lions have a bye.
Eastern Province 23 (6) Cell C Sharks 47 (21)
EP Elephants – Tries: Leon van der Merwe, Troy Delport. Conversions: Monre de Ridder (2). Penalty goals: De Ridder (3).
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Jacques Goosen, Nash Mhere, Corne Rahl, Ockie Barnard, Enos Ndiao, Ethan Fischer, Simelela Nkomo. Conversions: Brandon Wilkie (3), Curwin Gertse (3).
Leopards 36 (22) Toyota Free State 25 (8)
Leopards – Tries: Jakobus Cloete, Marvelous Mashimbye, Elzandro Fredericks (2), Christiaan Vlok. Conversions: Martin Venter (4). Penalty goal: Venter.
Free State – Tries: Jaco Venter, Lesley Botha, Juandre Nel, Jay-Dee Jooste. Conversion: Wikus Basson. Penalty goal: Basson.
Vodacom Bulls 30 (17) Lions 32 (8)
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Tiaan Lange, Tiaan Fourie, Bayanda Ngubane, Nolan Pienaar. Conversions: Jandre Burger (2). Penalty goals: Burger (2).
Lions – Tries: Ruan Venter (2), Henco van Wyk (2), Conversions: Jurich Claasens (3). Penalty goals: Claasens (2).