White to test Sharks' depth

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 13:26
Large andre esterhuizen sharks Large anthony and white.jpg630

The Sharks will use their trip to Saracens later this month test the dept of the squad ahead of the Super Rugby season.

The Sharks will use their trip to Saracens later this month test the dept of the squad ahead of the Super Rugby season.

The 26-man Sharks squad, to play Saracens in a pre-season friendly at Allianz Park in London on Saturday, January 25, will feature more than a dozen Springboks.

These include Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Tendai Mtawarira, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane and Francois Steyn.

However, Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White made it clear there will be a trial element to the trip.

"This match will provide us with the ideal opportunity to view the depth in our squad as we look to conclude our preparations ahead of the start of the Super Rugby tournament," the World Cup-winning former Bok mentor said.

"It is great to have our Springboks back and available for selection.

"We are expecting a highly-competitive match against Saracens and are looking forward to the encounter."

Bok utility back Patrick Lambie is one of the high-profile names missing from the squad, as he will be attending a wedding.

One young player relishing the opportunity to be a part of the squad is big centre Andre Esterhuizen.

He arrived at The Sharks Academy last year from the Leopards, and although just 19, played in the Vodacom Cup as well as for The Sharks Under-21 last year.

"I had a good season last year and it's great to be training with the senior players now, it's a good experience," he explains enthusiastically.

After representing the Leopards at provincial level through the age grades - Under-13, Under-16 and Under-18 - he decided to seek his fortune in Durban.

"I came to Durban because there is a good level of junior rugby and great structures which bring the younger players through."

He said: "It's great being able to learn from and play with the Springboks in the team, and although I'm a lot younger than them and it has been hard work, they have made me feel very comfortable and treat me like an equal."

And the opportunity to learn from a World Cup-winning coach?

"It's a big honour to be trained by Jake White, there is just so much to learn from him, he's a great coach," he admitted.

He tempers his high hopes of playing for the senior side with the fact that this is a high quality squad.

"I can only hope, but it's going to take a lot of hard work which I know I need to put it. I'm very excited for the year ahead."

Sharks squad:

Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Stephan Lewies, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Etienne Oosthuizen.

Backs: Andre Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Paul Jordaan, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Francois Steyn, Timothy Swiel, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams, Fred Zeilinga.

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Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
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Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
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Sat, 24 March 2018
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Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
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Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
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Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
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Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
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Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
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Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
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France v England 22 | 16
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Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
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Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
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Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4