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Scarlets to face 'star-studded' Sharks side bristling with 9 Springboks

By Sam Smith
Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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The Scarlets face a daunting task as they travel to South Africa and Sharks side packed with Springboks at the Hollywoodbets Kings Park in Durban this Friday.

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The Scarlets will look to build on an impressive victory over fourth-placed Glasgow Warriors last time out, but they face a mountain to climb in South Africa.

Aside from having play in temperatures in the high 20s, they will face a Sharks team that can boast a side jammed with first choice Boks. Sean Everitt’s starting XV include Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit and of course, captain Siya Kolisi.

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The Cell C Sharks are one of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship’s form teams, having lost only one of their last six fixtures in the competition. Their record at home is just as impressive, with a solitary loss – against Currie Cup opponents Western Province – since July.

Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel admits his side face a tough task: “We have had a couple of good training days here. The boys have enjoyed their stay so far and are looking forward to a good occasion on Friday night.

“The Sharks are a star-studded team with a lot of Springbok internationals. Physicality is something that’s taken for granted here – if you don’t turn up with good physicality you are going to be in trouble. Sharks also have pace out wide in abundance.”

The Scarlets have claimed just four URC wins this season but three of those came in their last five games.

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“Their back-three players are able to hurt you with speed. The starting point for us is to match physicality, then we have to limit opportunities for their outside backs because they are world stars who are dangerous. So we have to be clinical, disciplined and take our opportunities when they come. We are the first team from the north to travel down to play, it is a game everyone is looking forward to. I am sure the experience the guys will gain from this game will be huge moving forward.”

Cell C Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Gerbrandt Grobler, Reniel Hugo, Siya Kolisi (CAPT), Henco Venter, Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Khutha Mchunu, Le Roux Roets, Phepsi Buthelezi, Grant Williams, Tito Bonilla, Werner Kok

Scarlets: Tom Rogers, Steff Evans, Johnny Williams, Scott Williams (CAPT), Corey Baldwin, Sam Costelow, Dane Blacker, Steff Thomas, Daf Hughes, Samson Lee, Sam Lousi, Jac Price, Blade Thomson, Dan Davis, Sione Kalamafoni

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Replacements: Shaun Evans, Kemsley Mathias, Harri O’Connor, Aaron Shingler, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Archie Hughes, Dan Jones, Joe Roberts

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