The Cell C Sharks team named to take on the Rebels in the first match of the Australian leg of tour sees the restoration of players missing from last week as they look to strike back on Saturday.
Thomas du Toit was a late withdrawal last week and his fellow front rower Ox Nche was shifted to the bench as cover, while Curwin Bosch was back in Durban for a family bereavement and Makazole Mapimpi left the field early with a head knock. All four are back in the starting line-up.
“Thomas caught a virus a couple of days before the match against the Hurricanes, he felt better on Saturday morning but became feverish again once we got to the stadium so we had to withdraw him,” head coach Sean Everitt confirmed.
There was mixed news on the injury front with the two backline players who left the field early in the Hurricanes’ game after sustaining head knocks.
Boeta Chamberlain has returned home after failing the return to play HIA test and Lwazi Mvovo has been called up in his place, named on the bench, but Makazole Mapimpi came through his protocols on Tuesday.
“Curwin is good to go and slots straight back into the team,” said the coach.
“Sanele Nohamba did a job for us at 10 and did a good job there, but he is more cover than a starting flyhalf.” Nohamba gets his first start at scrumhalf this week.
Andre Esterhuizen will take over the captaincy duties for Lukhanyo Am who is out this week, with Jeremy Ward taking his place.
With the disruptions minimal, the team will be hoping for fewer hurdles in this match, although Everitt refused to use that as an excuse.
“We never spoke after the game about the injuries or disruptions, the guys have all trained well throughout the pre-season and we’re not going to use that as an excuse. But obviously it does have an effect on the team, especially when you have to get guys onto the bench who weren’t expecting to play.”
Cell C Sharks
Kerron van Vuuren
Thomas du Toit
Ruben van Heerden
Andre Esterhuizen (c)
Le Roux Roets