Du Preez has named a strong line-up for their opener against the Sunwolves. Aside from one debutant in the starting XV, this is a side mixed with experience and those who are making a name at this level, having already tasted a season or two of Vodacom Super Rugby action.

Aphelele Fassi, one of four youngsters making their debuts on Saturday, will start at fullback with Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu and Phendulani Buthelezi all set to come off the bench, having earned their positions in the match 23 following strong performances against the Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls in the two pre-season hit-outs.

The youngsters are joined by regular stalwarts such as Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Akker van der Merwe (hooker), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Dan du Preez (loose forward), Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf, captain), Lukhanyo Am (centre) and Sbu Nkosi (wing).

Meanwhile, two South African-born players - Gerhard van den Heever (fullback) and centre Shane Gates (centre) - have been named in the Japanese side’s starting XV. Van den Heever is a former Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers player, while Gates previously played for the Southern Kings.

What they said:

Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez explained that prudent rugby will be the order of the day rather than a high-paced, high-risk game: “The conditions will be tough with the humidity which make rugby difficult, so we’re going to have to do the basics really well. Our set-piece will have to function, breakdown work is extremely important and we need to be really physical. For us, it’s about going there to win.”


Sunwolves: 15 Gerhard van den Heever, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Shane Gates, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Luke Thompson, 3 Asaeli Valu, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar (captain). Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Awe Helu, 20 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Michael Little.

Cell C Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward.

Head to head:
Played: 3
Sunwolves won: 0
Cell C Sharks won: 3
Sunwolves points: 68
Cell C Sharks points: 128
Average score: 23-43

Match information:
Date: Saturday 16 February
SA time 12h55
Venue: Singapore National Stadium
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, AJ Jacobs
Television Match Official: Minoru Fuji
TV: SuperSport1