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'We will measure ourselves against what is essentially an international side'

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

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While the European URC exodus from South Africa may have made all the headlines this week, the saga has opened the door for a local derby that will be close to a full bodied Test match in terms of personnel.


Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt named an almost his full complement of Springboks for their clash against the Vodacom Bulls in Durban on Friday evening.

The Sharks welcome back nine Springboks, including South African captain Siya Kolisi.

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“While we’re up against a tough side in the Vodacom Bulls, this is a Cell C Sharks side that grew over the first four rounds of the URC and we’re looking forward to taking the Bulls on in front of our fans, even if it’s a limited number,” said Everitt. “It’s going to be great to have spectators cheering the Cell C Sharks on and I’m sure the players will deliver a performance fitting the gratitude they have for their support.”

“It’s great to have the Boks back with us.”

Meanwhile, tighthead prop Robert Hunt will earn his first start for the Vodacom Bulls. Richard Kriel will also make his United Rugby Championship debut.

The Vodacom Bulls’ Director of Rugby, Jake White, is well aware of the monumental job that awaits his team in Durban, where they will face a slew of internationals, including Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback in a rejigged backline.


“The Cell C Sharks have nine Springboks back, they have a Scottish international, a Samoan international and an Australian international,” said White. “It does not get much tougher than that. The Cell C Sharks, playing at home, with all those international players will be massive for us.

“I can tell you; we are very excited that we will get to measure ourselves against what is essentially an international side now again. There’s a bit of a buzz, it’s like a test match for us.”

Cell C Sharks: Ntuthuko Mchunu, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden, Hyron Andrews, Siya Kolisi, Jeandre Labuschagne, Phepsi Buthelezi, Ruan Pienaar, Boeta Chamberlain, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am (CAPT), Jeremy Ward, Sbu Nkosi, Anthony Volmink

Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Khwezi Mona, Lourens Adriaanse, Reniel Hugo, Henco Venter, Sanele Nohamba, Tito Bonilla, Werner Kok


Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Madosh Tambwe, David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Richard Kriel, Morné Steyn, Embrose Papier; Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Robert Hunt, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw.

Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Simphiwe Matanzima, Lizo Gqoboka, Jacques du Plessis, Sintu Manjezi, Zak Burger, Chris Smith, Harold Vorster


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