Loose forwards Phepsi Buthelezi and Deon Fourie will captain the Sharks and Stormers when they clash in an eagerly awaited United Rugby Championship (URC) match in Durban on Saturday.
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The Coastal derby, which kicks off at 14:00 (SA time) at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, is the only game of the weekend, but with the race to the playoffs getting serious, both sides will go full tilt to collect log points.
Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell has made two changes to the front row, where Ntuthuko Mchunu replaces Ox Nche and Carlü Sadie comes in for Thomas du Toit, with the rest of the pack that served the team so well last week in their victory over Edinburgh remaining in place.
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Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi acknowledged that his team can expect a huge challenge against the defending champs.
“Coastal derbies are always special, we know the style of play they want to play, we know the threats they bring in terms of the breakdown, the set-piece and going forward in terms of our plan is to just match that and take the opportunities we’ve identified. And being clinical in converting those into points,” said the Springbok fullback.
Stormers head coach John Dobson, who named Seabelo Senatla, Clayton Blommetjies, Dan du Plessis, Manie Libbok and Herschel Jantjies in the backline, said that the returning players are all keen to make their mark in the coastal clash.
“The players we rested last week have all played a prominent role in our preparations this week, which is very encouraging. Any South African derby away from home is a tough assignment, so we will have to be as sharp as ever,” said Dobson.
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15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Marcel Theunissen, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 Gary Porter, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu