In the third round of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, the Cell C Sharks focus now shifts to Wales, where they take on Ospreys on Friday night.
With much of the talk surrounding the need for an adjustment to the challenges presented by the new competition, Cell C Sharks skills coach Phiwe Nomlomo admits that the focus has been all about the need to be accurate and clinical.
“This tour is a matter of learning and learning fast and just understanding that we’re in a different environment here. When you make a mistake, you get punished so we need to stay on top of the ball and execute the way we know we can.”
He warns that each week presents its own new set of challenges as the different teams representing different countries each bring their own threats and strengths.
“Ospreys play close to the style of Wales, they are a massive kicking side that likes to maul. They’re very defence orientated and will try stifle your play and box you in your own 22 and make it as hard as possible for you to get out.”
He adds that playing three different teams from three different countries in successive weeks demands adaptations to counter the different styles of each side.
“Just last week, we were playing against internationals in almost every single position and look at our guys, many of them only 22 or 23, so we were up against a side that have done this before, they’ve travelled all around the world,” he explains.
“With 13 of our key players unavailable due to national duty or injury, we have a bit of catching up as far as caps go with a relatively young squad, but we are working hard and up for the challenge. We’re learning and we’re learning fast.”
Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has made a number of changes to this week’s side, bringing in Ntuthuko Mchunu for Khwezi Mona and Kerron van Vuuren for Fez Mbatha (injured) who has not recovered from a knock that he took against Glasgow. Thomas du Toit is retained at tighthead prop and has also been handed the captaincy role in the absence of Phepsi Buthelezi, who plays off the bench this week.
Hyron Andrews and Ruben van Heerden make a return as the lock partnership, with Le Roux Roets getting a break, while James Venter comes in for Dylan Richardson with Henco Venter named at eighthman.
In the midfield, Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward will partner up in place of Murray Koster and Werner Kok while Marnus Potgieter replaces Yaw Penxe and Anthony Volmink will start at fullback in place of Curwin Bosch.
Potgieter, Volmink and Dan Jooste (on the bench) will be making their URC debuts in this match.
Cell C Sharks
- Ntuthuko Mchunu
- Kerron van Vuuren
- Thomas du Toit (Capt)
- Ruben van Heerden
- Hyron Andrews
- James Venter
- Gerbrandt Grobler
- Henco Venter
- Ruan Pienaar
- Boeta Chamberlain
- Thaakir Abrahams
- Marius Louw
- Jeremy Ward
- Marnus Potgieter
- Anthony Volmink
- Dan Jooste
- Khwezi Mona
- Lourens Adriaanse
- Le Roux Roets
- Phepsi Buthelezi
- Dylan Richardson
- Sanele Nohamba
- Werner Kok