Kick-off in Durban is scheduled for 19h00 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport. The Emirates Lions named their team on Tuesday.

Libbok recently joined the Cell C Sharks from the Vodacom Bulls and will run out at fullback, while Kok, a former Blitzbok stalwart, will start at left wing. Completing the back trio is the experienced JP Pietersen.

Cell C Sharks coach Sean Everitt selected 13 players who featured in last Saturday's Castle Lager Springbok Showdown between the Green and Gold squads, including the entire front row.

Ox Nche, Dylan Richardson and Thomas du Toit will all front up against the might of the Emirates Lions, while Hyron Andrews (lock), James Venter and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (both loose forwards) complete the inclusion of starting forwards.

Werner Kok and Celimpilo Gumede will both make their Cell C Sharks debuts on Friday.

Werner Kok and Celimpilo Gumede will both make their Cell C Sharks debuts on Friday.

Five of the seven backline players named for Friday's game also played in last weekend's match – the halfback pairing of Sanele Nohamba and Curwin Bosch are joined by Libbok, Kok and Lukhanyo Am, who will again lead the Cell C Sharks into battle.

Playing off the bench, JJ van der Mescht and Jeremy Ward will no doubt want to show that their experience in Green and Gold only adds to what they bring to the table.

Venter, who donned the colours of the Emirates Lions in 2019, admits that the energy and excitement in the camp are driving the players towards delivering a big performance on Friday evening.

“Our pre-season has gone really well – we’ve trained hard and executed well – but we’ve learned our lessons from that Bulls game and now it’s about executing against the Lions,” said Venter, referring to the Vodacom Super Fan Saturday friendly won by the Pretorians at Loftus Versfeld two weekends ago.

James Venter in action earlier this year.

James Venter in action earlier this year.

“The camp is really excited. We knew going into the Bulls game that it was a warm-up match and we took that in our stride, although we learned a lot and will bounce back.

“This week has been about prepping for the Lions and we have trained hard, the vibe in the camp is great and we’re really excited to get stuck into Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked.”

Three more uncapped players were included on the bench - Dan Jooste (hooker), Celimpilo Gumede (loose forward) and Thaakir Abrahams (outside back).

Cell C Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok*, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok*, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste*, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Celimpilo Gumede*, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Thaakir Abrahams*.

* denotes Cell C Sharks debut

Match information - Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions
Date: Friday, 9 October 2020
Time: 19h00
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Paul Mente
Television Match Official: Marius Jonker
TV: SuperSport Rugby and CSN