With the knockouts looming, the hosts will be highly focused in their match at Jonsson Kings Park, where kick-off is scheduled for 16h30, and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has once again had to implement changes to his team for Saturday, with the inclusion of Fassi in the No 15 shirt being one of five personnel changes to the side that lost to the Toyota Cheetahs last weekend.

Everitt is loathe to use the COVID-enforced disruptions as an excuse as all the teams are in the same boat. Nevertheless, there can be no denying that being unable to pick the same teams each week plays a big part in continuity.

Three changes to the tight five see Fezokhule Mbatha (hooker), Michael Kumbirai (tighthead prop) and JJ van der Mescht (lock) all being handed starts, with Thembelani Bholi (loose forward) also coming into the starting line-up.

JJ van der Mescht on the charge last year against Tafel Lager Griquas

JJ van der Mescht on the charge last year against Tafel Lager Griquas

There is just one change at the back, where Fassi takes over from Manie Libbok, who left the field early last weekend after taking a knock, but has recovered sufficiently to be named on the bench.

“We’ve struggled with consistency in our selection due to COVID protocols and with injuries, it’s not ideal changing your team week after week and we’re losing important people as we go along,” said Everitt.

“But that’s a problem all the teams are facing. It’s been frustrating, winning certain aspects of the game like territory and possession, line breaks, the gain-line battle, but we’ve struggled in the set-piece and individual skill error.

“We need to cut out those individual errors so we can put together a complete performance.

“It’s going to be a physical battle against Griquas – as always. We know what we’re going to get from Griquas, they’ll be fired up but we’re a determined group. We’ve set ourselves goals and high standards and I expect our team to bounce back and do well this weekend.”

Cell C Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanru Jacobs, 19 Aston Fortuin, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Anthony Volmink.

Match Information – Cell C Sharks v Tafel Lager Griquas
Date: Saturday, 2 January 2021
Time: 16h30
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron and Divan Uys
TMO: Marius Jonker
TV: SuperSport Action