The last campaign was largely a season to forget for the Cell C Sharks, despite making the play-offs in Super Rugby. Expectations were high for Robert du Preez and his boys who were fresh from that historic Currie Cup victory where the KZN franchise defied the odds to beat Western Province at Newlands.
The team struggled with consistency and copped a lot of criticism from the media and some sections of their support fans. Most of that criticism was directed to the head coach as he continued to snub Curwin Bosch at flyhalf in favor of his son, Robert Junior, who was struggling for form.
The criticism didn’t sit well with du Preez who invoked the ire of the media by calling Durban rugby journalists “cockroaches”. Du Preez and franchise eventually parted ways with Sean Everitt announced as his replacement with David Williams and Nick Easter, as his assistants both of whom were part of the Sharks’ Super Rugby coaching staff.
Everitt’s first task was to defend the Currie Cup which was compressed into a mere nine weeks in total due to the 2019 World Cup. Everitt’s men kicked off the competition with a home tie against the Griquas, who duly humbled the hosts, running out 37-13 winners at Jonsson Kings Park.
However, the team improved from that defeat and showed their quality beating Western Province, the Cheetahs, the Lions, and the Blue Bulls, eventually losing in the semi-final against the Cheetahs who would go on to win the competition.
Finishing the Currie Cup on a positive note was something Everitt needed and he will use that to build up for this season’s much anticipated Super Rugby campaign.
A few good additions have been announced by the Durban franchise with names like 23-year-old James Venter who played for the Lions in the recent Currie Cup final. Another addition was winger Madosh Tambwe a 22-year-old who was born in the DRC but attended school Parktown Boys High in Johannesburg.
Following the departures of the Du Preez twins, Philip van der Walt and Jacques Vermeulen, The Cell C Sharks announced Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jordan Chait, Jordan Sesink Clee, Ox Nche, Henco Venter and Michael Kumbirai as replacements.
One of the unexpected yet fascinating signing was the capture of Blitz Bokke and Western Province star Werner Kok. With these signings and this current technical team, one can be confident of a good season. Visiting the Jonsson Kings Park. will be a daunting task for oppositions.
The biggest test comes in the opening game of the 2019 Super Rugby competition where the Sharks welcome the Blue Bulls to kick off the season with a derby. That game will give a clear indication of what to expect.