Europan Champions Cup: Cell C Sharks v Harlequins

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Andre EsterhuizenEsterhuizen returns to his former club as the Sharks make their Champions Cup debut
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban Date: Saturday 10 December Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport website and app

Centre Joe Marchant returns to the Harlequins side to take on the Sharks in the first Heineken Champions Cup game to involve a South African side.

The Sharks, Stormers and Bulls make their tournament debut this year.

Marchant's inclusion, at the expense of Oscar Beard, is the only change from the starting XV that beat Bath, with Tommy Allan continuing at fly-half.

The Sharks side includes South Africa internationals Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth and Makazole Mapimpi.

Bongi Mbonambi and Ox Nche are in the front row, while Werner Kok and Phepsi Buthelezi, who impressed in the provincial side's matches against the British and Irish Lions last year, also start.

The Sharks beat Ospreys 25-10 last time out in the United Rugby Championship.

Springboks Etzebeth and Kolisi were unavailable for that match, but return for the Sharks' debut in Europe's premier club competition.

Prop Thomas Du Toit is still suspended after his red card during South Africa's win over England at Twickenham in November.

Harlequins are missing fly-half Marcus Smith, who suffered an injury in the same fixture.

However, Andre Esterhuizen, who moved to south west London from Durban in 2020, is fit to start for the visitors against his former side.

Quins, who come into the game on the back of Premiership wins over Gloucester and Bath, reached the last 16 last season before narrowly losing out to Montpellier.

They will play two fixtures, home and away, against both the Sharks and Racing 92 in their attempt to reach the knockout round of this year's competition.

What they say

Sharks prop Ox Nche: "Harlequins run from anywhere on the field and they have a more attacking mindset than the teams in the United Rugby Championship.

"They can kick when you expect them to run and they run when you expect them to kick - they are unpredictable compared to the URC teams."

Harlequins club captain Stephen Lewies: "Myself and Andre Esterhuizen told the team a lot about South Africa and Durban especially, so going back there and playing on our old ground will be amazing."

Cell C Sharks: Chamberlain; Kok, Venter, Tapuai, Mapimpi; Bosch, Hendrikse; Nche, Mbonambi, Sadie, Etzebeth, Grobler, Kolisi (c), Tshituka, Buthelezi.

Replacements: Jooste, N Mchunu, K Mcunhu, Andrews, Notshe, Williams, Cronhe, Van Rensburg

Harlequins: David; Murley, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Bassett; Allan, Care; Marler, Walker, Louw, Lamb, Herbst, Kenningham, Evans, Dombrandt (c)

Replacements: Head, Baxter, Kerrod, Hammond, Lawday, Gjaltema, Beard, Edwards

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