It all comes down to this final week of league games in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship as teams jockey for log positions and knock-out appearances, while the Cell C Sharks couldn’t have received a more timely boost in their quest for the South African Shield.
After his two-month sojourn in Japan, Am has rejoined the Cell C Sharks for their final match ahead of the quarter-finals. Springbok prop Thomas du Toit retains the captaincy though.
Currently in third place on the Vodacom URC log and leading the South African Shield, the Cell C Sharks are only too aware of the importance riding on this match. The DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls will have a keen interest in the clash in Belfast, as a win for Ulster will allow them the opportunity to leap-frog the Durbanites on the log.
With Leinster and Munster engaged in a top of the table battle on Saturday, a win for the Cell C Sharks could see them finish as high as second place on the log, which will guarantee home ground advantage for the quarter- and semi-finals.
Sean Everitt’s 27-man squad arrived in Belfast late Monday afternoon in preparation for the clash against Ulster, which kicks off at 20h35 on Friday.
Cell C Sharks tour squad:
Forwards: Ox Nche, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Thomas du Toit (captain), Khutha Mchunu, Lourens Adriaanse, Kerron van Vuuren, Bongi Mbonambi, Dan Jooste, Ruben van Heerden, Reniel Hugo, Hyron Andrews, Siya Kolisi, Jeandre Labuschagne, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Phepsi Buthelezi, Henco Venter.
Backs: Grant Williams, Jaden Hendrikse, Cameron Wright, Curwin Bosch, Boeta Chamberlain, Marius Louw, Lukhanyo Am, Werner Kok, Marnus Potgieter, Makazole Mapimpi, Aphelele Fassi.