Cell C Sharks coach Robert du Preez has signalled his side’s intent by choosing the strongest possible team for Saturday evening’s final Vodacom Super Rugby league showdown against the Emirates Lions in Durban.

In one surprising move that nonetheless makes a lot of sense, Du Preez has dropped points scoring machine Curwin Bosch to the bench. It makes sense because the man who replaces Bosch at fullback is Lwazi Mvovo, who was great in that position towards the end of May and during the South African A series against the French Barbarians and will definitely bring an attacking edge that was lacking in the previous match against the Vodacom Bulls.

Garth April has been solid at flyhalf since coming in there for the injured Patrick Lambie during the Port Elizabeth clash with the Southern Kings in mid-May, while Bosch struggled there a bit during the Junior World Championship.

Du Preez has what looks like his most potent attacking backline playing on Saturday, with the unfortunate Lukhanyo Am, who missed out on being part of the Springbok squad in the series against France because of injury, returning to partner Andre Esterhuizen in the midfield. With Am back, Kobus van Wyk returns from his own injury to retake his regular position on the right wing, rather than play in the midfield as speculated.

With Van Wyk on one wing and the exciting S’busiso Nkosi on the other the Sharks have both pace and bulk out wide, and with Mvovo in the No 15 jersey they make up an exciting back three.

Bok prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira is still out due to the neck strain he has struggled with since the French series, but otherwise the pack is also at full muster. Jean-Luc du Preez missed the Bulls game but is back on the blindside flank to complete a combative back row with brother Dan and skipper Philip van der Walt.

One man the Sharks will miss is lock Ruan Botha, who is out serving the suspension he incurred for being red carded in one of the South African A games during the June break, but the Sharks still have a strong starting second row to call on in the form of Etienne Oosthuizen and Stephan Lewies. The latter will be provided with extra motivation by the fact that he is playing his landmark 50th Super Rugby game for the Sharks.

Big Thomas du Toit is a more than capable replacement for Mtawarira and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle (Franco Marais is one other regular who is missing) and tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen are both Springboks.

Back-up tighthead Lourens Adriaanse will play from the bench in what will be his final game at Kings Park for the Sharks before moving to greener pastures, and is joined in the exit lounge from the Durban union by lock Oosthuizen and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach.

That trio will want to make Saturday a rousing Durban send off, and Du Preez has expressed a desire to see a strong performance so that the Sharks can take some momentum into the play-offs after a disappointing loss to the Bulls two weeks ago.

“This is a big game for us as it will lay a platform and achieve some momentum for us ahead of the play-offs,” said Du Preez.

“We need to execute efficiently and give a much better account of ourselves in this game. It is going to be a huge battle upfront and judging from our earlier encounter, it is going to come down to discipline and determination.”

The team he has selected delivers on the Du Preez request for determination and he certainly has the players and combinations to upset the Lions on the Sharks’ home field, and it shows a clear intent on Du Preez’s part to go all out for the win.

It is still going to be interesting to see though how the Sharks will react if they go into the game with the Lions needing a win to secure the top spot, which is likely to book the Sharks a 50 minute flight to Johannesburg next week for their quarterfinal as opposed to a long-haul flight across many time zones to New Zealand.

Cell C Sharks team: 15.Lwazi Mvovo, 14.Kobus van Wyk, 13.Lukhanyo Am, 12.Andre Esterhuizen, 11.S’busiso Nkosi, 10.Garth April, 9.Cobus Reinach, 8.Daniel du Preez, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 6.Philip van der Walt (captain), 5.Stephan Lewies, 4.Etienne Oosthuizen, 3.Coenie Oosthuizen, 2.Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1.Thomas du Toit. Replacements: 16.Stephan Coetzee, 17.Juan Schoeman, 18.Lourens Adriaanse, 19.Jean Drotse, 20.Tera Mtembu, 21.Michael Claassens, 22.Curwin Bosch, 23.Jeremy Ward.