Their starting line-up remains unchanged from last week’s splendid win, while Springboks Thomas du Toit and Curwin Bosch are both included on the bench.

The coastal outfit have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Blues, going back more than a decade, and finished on the winning side in each of their previous five home fixtures against all opposition, while the Blues have fallen to defeats in their last three games.

Meanwhile, the Blues welcome three All Blacks into their starting line-up as props Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Karl Tu'inukuafe join centre Sonny Bill Williams in the run-on side. Melani Nanai, starting at fullback, and No 8 Akira Ioane will both be making their 50th appearances for the Blues.

What they said:

Cell C Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez said they want to show consistency this year: “The opposition brings the best out of you, we knew these would be really big games, but we have to change our mindset around this – we can’t be up for a Kiwi game and not get up for an Aussie game. They’re a new team and we expect a good battle out there on Saturday.”


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 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe. Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Tanielu Tele’a.

Head to head:
Played: 24
Cell C Sharks won: 15
Blues won: 9
Cell C Sharks points: 633
Blues points: 608
Average score: 26-25

Match information:

Date: Saturday, 23 February
SA time: 15h05
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Griffon Colby
Television Match Official: Marius Jonker
TV: SuperSport1