The Sharks have given themselves a chance of reaching the play-offs and they will look to continue their fine recent form at the Stormers on Saturday.
Robert du Preez’s men impressively defeated the South African Conference leaders when they overcame the Lions 31-24 in Durban. It has left them just three points off the top-eight and with an opportunity of claiming a place in the Qualifiers.
While top spot in the division is highly unlikely, with the Lions comfortably ahead and at home in the final round, the Durban-based outfit could sneak ahead of the Rebels and possibly the Jaguares, should the Argentines slip up in Pretoria.
They will be without Jean-Luc du Preez but Siya Kolisi’s absence for the Stormers should make their task easier, while the individual match-ups favour the visitors.
Damian de Allende v Andre Esterhuizen is a mouth-watering duel, however, with it pitting the current Springbok centre against the pretender trying to dethrone him. De Allende was much improved in the series against England – Esterhuizen struggled when given a chance – but the Sharks man has certainly been the better of the two in Super Rugby.
Elsewhere, the Sharks look stronger throughout, even with Tendai Mtawarira starting the match from the bench, and on form, they should have too much for the hosts.
Fleck’s outfit have lost four in a row and have duly seen any chances of challenging the best in the conference dissipate. The head coach is under pressure and another poor result could edge him further towards the exit door.
A positive result would certainly help the Stormers boss but may not save him. And, with the Durban-based side having so much to play for, it will take an excellent performance to prevent them from succumbing to yet another loss.
The Sharks have also won the last four between the teams and look set to put pressure on the Rebels immediately above them.
The last time the teams met: The Sharks came away with a narrow 24-17 triumph in the reverse fixture as the Du Preez brothers once again came to the fore. Robert kicked all three conversions and a penalty while Jean-Luc touched down in the second half as the hosts claimed victory. Lukhanyo Am and Thomas du Toit also crossed the whitewash as tries from the Stormers’ Raymond Rhule and Ramone Samuels proved to be in vain.
Team news: Dillyn Leyds will play his 50th match for the Stormers when he lines up at full-back at Newlands on Saturday.
The side features five changes for the Super Rugby coastal derby. The Stormers will be led by Pieter-Steph du Toit in the absence of captain Siya Kolisi, who has been ruled out through illness, with his place on the side of the scrum taken by Kobus van Dyk.
The only other changes to the forward pack will see props JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe come into the starting line-up on either side of hooker Bongi Mbonambi, with JD Schickerling and Juarno Augustus among the replacements.
In the backline EW Viljoen starts at outside centre, with JJ Engelbrecht shifting to the wing and Craig Barry on the replacements bench alongside Josh Stander and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who will make his Super Rugby debut if he comes on.
Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck insists that his team will be looking to end their campaign on a positive note.
“This weekend gives us another chance to play in front of our fans at DHL Newlands, so we are determined to put together a good performance,” Fleck said.
“South African derbies are always tough and this should be a great game to watch, we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has made four changes to his side for this Super Rugby derby.
He has been forced to make a tweak at flank where Jacques Vermeulen replaces the injured Jean-Luc du Preez.
In the second change to the pack, Juan Schoeman comes in for Tendai Mtawarira who, with his heavy workload in June for the Springboks and Sharks, gets a break, but will play off the bench.
Scrum-halves Louis Schreuder and Cameron Wright rotate, while Sbu Nkosi returns after pulling out of the Lions match at the last minute, with Lwazi Mvovo retaining a starting position on the other wing.
Barnstorming centre Andre Esterhuizen will continue his impressive partnership with outside centre Lukhanyo Am and hailed their recent performance.
2018: Sharks won 24-17 in Durban
2017: Sharks won 22-10 in Durban
2016: Sharks won 18-13 in Cape Town
2015: Sharks won 34-12 in Durban
2015: Stormers won 29-13 in Cape Town
2014: Sharks won 34-10 in Cape Town
2014: Stormers won 21-19 in Durban
2013: Stormers won 22-15 in Cape Town
Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (c), 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Jan de Klerk, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Craig Barry
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (c), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Beast Mtawarira, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk
Date: Saturday, July 7
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:15 local (16:15 BST, 15:15 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker