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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

After emerging from surgery on Tuesday, Pieter-Steph du Toit has suggested that his knee injury may not be season-ending.

It was previously feared that the 22-year-old Sharks flanker would miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season and South Africa’s Rugby World Cup campaign, however the initial prognosis is positive.

“A miracle just happened,” tweeted Du Toit.

“Just got home after surgery, everything went well. Doc said I will be able to play in three months if rehab goes well.”

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Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams’ delayed concussion symptoms are giving Chiefs coach Dave Rennie headaches of his own.

Rennie said he will wait until Friday, to give his star centre a shot at playing against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

The All Black superstar suffered a head-clash with Stormers prop Vincent Koch last weekend in Cape Town, forcing him to leave the field for a concussion test.

Williams returned to the playing field to complete most of the game, but has been suffering from headaches and showing symptoms of concussion.

For the Chiefs coach, Rennie, there is now a nervous wait to see if Williams can complete the mandatory protocols – in order to be declared fit to face the Sharks in this Super Rugby Round 6 crunch clash.

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Pieter-Steph du Toit

Pieter-Steph du Toit

Cell C Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained in his side’s win over the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday.

Du Toit’s injury is a huge blow to the Sharks and the Springboks as it means he is almost certainly ruled out of the World Cup in England later this year.

Du Toit left the field during the first half after he twisted his knee during a tackle. The 22-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament on the same knee where a similary injury kept him on the sidelines for most of the 2014 season.

He hopped on a plane to Cape Town to see a surgeon while there were mixed emotions among his team-mates, who headed to Durban after their 29-10 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

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CheetahsCell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks picked up their second victory of the Super Rugby campaign as they saw off the Toyota Cheetahs 27 / 10 in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

An improved performance was always on the cards following the defeat the men from Durban suffered against Stormers in their previous outing and the revival particularly at scrum-time will be encouraging for both the Super Rugby team and the Springbok coaching set-up.

The experience Tendai Mtawarira and brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis brought to the game was crucial on the day, but the real winner for the Sharks was their defence against a Cheetahs outfit that was predictably full of running.

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Jannie du PlessisJannie du Plessis may not have been involved in the weekend’s scrumming massacre at the hands of the Stormers, but he has examined the evidence and given his diagnosis on what went wrong.

The Sharks efforts against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday steadily disintegrated as the game went on.

Their set piece meltdown culminated in three tightheads over a period of 15 minutes.

Du Plessis might not have had a front-row seat on Saturday’s proceeding, but he did manage to get his hands on a video which he scrutinized at length.

“I was certainly not expecting it (conceding three tightheads in 15 minutes),” the Springbok tighthead said.

“We had prepared really well, but there are a few technical things that went wrong.

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Sam Cane

Sam Cane

The Chiefs may have felt they deserved to win against the Highlanders after dominating play, but that is behind them as they now focus on their tour to South Africa.

The Chiefs next match is away in Cape Town against the undefeated DHL Stormers on 14 March, they then travel up the coast to Durban to take on the Cell C Sharks in what is sure to be a tough tour.

The South Africa opposition does not end there as their 1st fixture back home is to the traveling Cheetahs.

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DHL Stormers vs Cell C Sharks

The DHL Stormers remained unbeaten and still Top of the South African Conference, by defeating the Sharks 34 / 13 in a feisty derby.

A super solo score by Johnny Kotze and a Penalty Try against Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, wrapped up a deserved win for the Stormers, their 4th of the season.

It’s early days but the Stormers now look like South Africa’s best hope of a Super Rugby title in 2015, based on their start to the year and the questionable form of their rivals.

When it mattered, their growing composure shone through in Cape Town, undaunted by the larger number of Springboks in the Sharks’ ranks.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

After enduring a disappointing start to the season, Sharks coach Gary Gold has called on his side to ‘man-up’ and pull together.

Much is expected of a squad loaded with Springboks, but they have yet to realise their potential this season, with just 1 win from their first 4 games.

Gold said that the key to turning things around will be to remain united and take a hard look at which areas of their game are letting them down.

“This is certainly not the start we wanted in Super Rugby but it is important now to man-up and carry on with the fight.

“It is a long competition and we have got some work to do, no question of a doubt.

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks can count on 3 Springboks who return to the side to take on the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday evening in what is shaping up to be a massive South African Conference derby.

JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have returned from Japan and no time has been wasted introducing them to the starting line-up, while Willem Alberts has been given the all-clear to play after spending time rehabbing an injury.

JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn have also proven themselves at training and they form a new centre partnership.

Ryan Kankowski will join the elite group of Vodacom Super Rugby centurions when he plays in his 100th game for the Cell C Sharks, in a loose-forward bolstered by the return of Albert, especially in light of the kind of talent that lurks at the back of the Stormers scrum in the shape of SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Cell C Sharks third round Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld proved to be a very physical encounter that was contested passionately by the respective teams on the day.

During the match there was an off the ball incident that took place involving Bismarck du Plessis and Victor Matfield. On reflection after the match, Bismarck realised that he acted inappropriately with his choice of language used and would like to apologise for his behaviour.

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

JP Pietersen

JP Pietersen

Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

 

The Cell C Sharks have been boosted by the return of Springboks Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen from Japan, as well as flank Willem Alberts from a hamstring injury.

Both Japanese-based backs were spotted training with the Sharks on Monday after their respective teams were eliminated from the league in Japan.

Meanwhile, barn-storming loose forward Alberts has been training with the squad for sometime now and is finally in contention for selection as the Sharks prepare to travel to Cape Town to take on the undefeated Stormers.

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Super RugbyThe Toyota Cheetahs, Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers were victorious in 3 terrific Vodacom Super Rugby matches, as the competition really took off in the 3rd Round.

On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs sneaked home against the Blues in Bloemfontein, winning their 2nd match of the season by 25 / 24 to remain 1 of only 4 unbeaten teams in 2015.

Saturday saw 2 local derbies of the highest calibre, with Test-like intensity. Mirrroing the encounter in Bloemfontein, the results of both these matches were in the balance right until the end.

The Vodacom Bulls prodcued their maiden win of the season when they beat the Cell C Sharks by 43 / 35 in a superb match in Pretoria. Then the DHL Stormers clocked their 3rd win from 3 matches when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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Cell C SharksGood news appears to suddenly be coming in clusters for the Cell C Sharks, who have followed on from their opening Vodacom Super Rugby win against the Emirates Lions with what for director of rugby Gary Gold will be a pleasing wave of important players returning to the mix.

On Sunday morning, the day after his team scored what he called a “relieving” win over the Lions, Gold received the news that the 2 Japanese clubs that backline kingpins JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn play for were both knocked out of their competition this past weekend. That means they will be back sooner rather than later, and will probably be available for the crucial game against the Stormers in Cape Town the week after next.

“I suppose it’s not nice for those players to lose but it is good news for us,” grinned Gold.

Then on Monday a man that Gold would really like to see in action as soon as possible as he is such an important cog in the forward machine, Willem Alberts, took part in full training for the first time. He could also be ready for the Stormers game.

Also at the 2-hour middle of the day training session on a Kings Park outerfield was Ryan Kankowski. The former Springbok No 8 is now into his 2nd week back from Japan and will be available for Saturday’s clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold signed a sigh of relief when his team managed to bounce back and score an unlikely bonus point at a flooded Kings Park against the Lions on Saturday.

Both the Sharks and the Lions would have been looking to hit back from disappointing losses at their respective home grounds last week after dominating the play.

However, it was the Sharks that seemed to play the torrential conditions better on the night with Pat Lambie managing the game incredibly well with his boot.

Coach Gold was visibly disappointed after the loss to the Cheetahs in the opening round, and although there were no big smiles on his face at the press conference on Saturday, he had to explain that it was relief more than anything to come away with five points.

“I think relief is the word,” Gold said afterwards.

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Springbok forward Marcell Coetzee scored 2 tries as the Cell C Sharks defeated the Emirates Lions 29 / 12 at a drenched Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban.

Kick-off was very nearly delayed thanks to the torrential rain that hit Durban throughout Saturday, with only the most dedicated of fans remaining in the Kings Park stands.

The natural expectation therefore was an error-strewn contest with knock-ons galore, but to credit both sides the standard of their handling and execution was better than predicted.

The Lions grew in confidence and stature as the match progressed, doing their damage off the tee through Marnitz Boshoff, but ultimately came up significantly short.

A test of tactical nous in the wet, Springbok halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie both showed real intelligence in their decision-making, a fine example being the build-up to Odwa Ndungane’s try.

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Lubabalo 'Giant' Mtyanda

Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda

The Cell C Sharks welcome back Bismarck du Plessis to the team to host the Lions at Growthpoint Kings Park in one of a handful of changes to last week’s side.

Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, explaining the rationale in making new selections, explains: “Due to injuries, we have had to necessitate a few changes to the team.

“Apart from those injury-enforced changes, we have tried to keep the team as consistent as possible, so that players have another opportunity to get the wrongs of the past weekend right.”

They will have to make do without the likes of wing S’bura Sithole, Mouritz Botha and Beast Mtawarira, but that opens the door of opportunity to Odwa Ndungane, debutant lock Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda and Dale Chadwick.

2 Very exciting young talents in Thomas du Toit and Andre Esterhuizen come onto the bench for this week’s match.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Cell C Sharks may have had a less than auspicious start to their Super Rugby campaign, but they remain one of the fancied teams in the competition.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to ahead of his team’s trip to Durban for their Round 2 match on Saturday, said the Cheetahs did not do his team any favours with their surprise 35 / 29 win over the Sharks last week.

On top of that, the Lions were also well below par in their 8 / 22 loss to the Hurricanes.

They are aware the welcome mat won’t be rolled out at Growthpoint Kings Park this week.

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Lwazi Mvovo

Lwazi Mvovo

Cell C Sharks winger Lwazi Mvovo says defeat in their season opening Super Rugby match hardly matters, as it is more important to finish well.

“It’s still the 1st round and there’s a lot of rounds to go. The most important thing is not how you start, but how you finish,” he said in Durban on Tuesday.

The Durban franchise suffered a surprise 35 / 29 home loss to the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend in one of several shock results in the competition.

The defending champions, the Waratahs, and multiple winners the Crusaders also lost their opening games.

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Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira

The Sharks suffered a major injury scare on Saturday when Tendai Mtawarira left the field in pain, with the early diagnosis indicating a severe injury.

However, after undergoing scans on Monday, a calf tear was downgraded to a calf strain and although he will not be considered for selection for a few weeks, this does not constitute a long term injury.

“Losing an international is a big loss to any team, obviously we aren’t happy about losing Tendai, but there’s nothing we can do, we have to move on,” said assistant coach Sean Everitt.

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Tendai 'Beast Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast Mtawarira

Lodewyk De Jager

Lodewyk de Jager

Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

We are just 1 week into the Super Rugby season and there is already a lengthy list of Springboks sidelined by injury.

With captain Jean de Villiers a non-starter thanks to a knee injury which has put a question mark over his availability for the World Cup, he has been joined by Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Lodewyk de Jager amd Julian Redelinghuys.

Etzebeth hurt his chest in a warm-up game against the Cheetahs at Newlands, and is only expected back in the 3rd round – the 3rd consecutive year he has missed the start of the competition.

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Cell C SharksCell C Sharks Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, has named the Sharks side for the season-opener at Growthpoint Kings Park on Saturday.

He said, “The Cheetahs for me are one of the most dangerous sides to play against and on their day they have the ability to beat any team.

“We are expecting a physical battle against a well-coached team, who have some exciting young players in their squad.

“Our guys have prepared well for the tournament and there is a fantastic spirit in the camp. We want to play an exciting brand of rugby that our fans expect and score tries. The only way to win matches is to score tries and to score tries you need to keep the ball in hand. Our players are determined and will give nothing less than 100% effort on the park.”

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Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

It is still unsure as to when Springbok Willem Alberts will return from injury as the Sharks prepare to face the Cheetahs in Round One of Super Rugby this weekend.

Alberts, who damaged a hamstring while on duty with the Springboks, has been out of action since before the Rugby Championship in August last year.

The flank went down with the injury right before the Boks first game against Argentina at a soggy Loftus Versfeld, this allowed Warren Whitely to make his debut.

Alberts also missed the next game against in Salta.

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Cell C SharksSharks Director of Rugby, Gary Gold has released the names of his 40-man squad for Vodacom Super Rugby 2015.

The following players were not considered for selection at this stage due to injury: JC Astle, Paul Jordaan, Stephan Lewies, Tonderai Chavhanga, Willem Alberts.

The Cell C Sharks commence their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign this Saturday, 14 February 2015 against the Toyota Cheetahs at Growthpoint Kings Park.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 17:05 SA Time.

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Jean Deysel

Jean Deysel

Michael Claassens

Michael Claassens

The Cell C Sharks announced that loose-forward Jean Deysel, who has spent the past 6 months playing for Toyota Verbiltz in Japan, will be making a welcome return to the Cell C Sharks for the 2015 Super Rugby season.

Deysel who to date has been capped an impressive 117 times for the Cell C Sharks, will join the squad immediately.

South African born scrum-half, Michael Claassens, who currently plays for Toulon in the French Top 14, has also been signed on a 2-year deal. He is expected to join the team as soon as his playing commitments in France have concluded.

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ToulonCell C SharksToulon (5) 10 / 12 (9) Sharks (Final Score)

Toulon and the Cell C Sharks did battle in a friendly cross-hemisphere match prior to the

Super Rugby season at Stade Mayol, Toulon at 22:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

*******************

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Michael Horak

Michael Horak

Cell C Sharks defensive coach, Michael Horak, is looking forward to the test an unstructured Toulon team can give the Sharks defensive line ahead of their warm-up match on Thursday.

The Sharks are in the latter stages of their preparation for a Super Rugby campaign that kicks off against the Cheetahs on 14 February.

They will face a Toulon side famous for its big names and dominating style of rugby as a warm-up match in order to get their systems and structures right.

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ToulonCell C SharksThe Sharks match against Toulon will see 2014’s best European team take on the last year’s best South African team, but will it be rust versus readiness?

The men from Durban, bar a brief hit-out against Rovers last Thursday, have not seen competitive rugby in over 3 months, while their opponents, Toulon, are in the business end of their season.

There is bound to be some rustiness from the South Africans admits former Sharks prop Eduard Coetzee as he discusses what it will be like for them to face the Galácticos of rugby.

Coetzee is well versed in both countries’ rugby having spent 5 years with the Sharks before finishing off his career in France with Bayonne and finally Biarritz where he made 125 appearances.

“It is clear that for us that this meeting will be something special,” Coetzee said.

“We will assess our ability while facing the best team in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Cell C SharksThe Bulls are the South African team to have laid down the early marker ahead of the Vodacom Super Rugby season that kicks off in a fortnight and after watching the Pretoria team deal with Saracens, the Sharks will aim at a quality performance when they play Toulon in France on Thursday.

In direct contrast to last season, when Jake White’s arrival as director of rugby created much hype and a few bold predictions about the Sharks’ chances long before the competition had started, the Durban franchise has been operating under the radar during the off-season.

The low key end to 2014, with the Currie Cup team bowing out in the semifinal stage as opposed to going all the way to the trophy the year before, has probably contributed to the low key build-up, as has the fact that the new director of rugby, Gary Gold, has until late last week been based in Japan. Consultant Brendan Venter has been overseeing the preparations for Super Rugby, but he is not known for making bold assertions to the media.

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Cell C SharksOn Thursday 5 February, 2015 the Cell C Sharks will play Toulon in a pre-season friendly at the Stade Mayol in a North vs South Challenge match.

This match gives fans the opportunity of seeing the likes of Mouritz Botha and Renaldo Bothma (forwards) and Paul Perez and Waylon Murray (backs) in action for the Cell C Sharks, along with team regulars in a competitive pre-season hit-out against the four time French National competition winners and back-to-back Heineken Cup champions in 2013 and 2014.

 

The following players make up the touring squad to France:

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Michael Horak

Michael Horak

Sharks defensive coach Michael Horak believes that their system of 6 coaches will put them ‘half a yard ahead of the opposition’ in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The Sharks coaching system includes Director of Rugby Gary Gold, who is set to return to Durban after his Japanese club team was dumped out in the semifinals last weekend, and technical advisor Brendan Venter, who has been running the show in Gold’s absence.

Additionally, the 3 Currie Cup coaches for the Sharks in Brad Mcleod-Henderson (forwards coach), Sean Everitt (backline coach) and Paul Anthony (off-the-ball coach), have all been retained alongside Horak.

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