Bok star returns from injury for Sharks' Euro venture
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Sharks team to meet Bordeaux-Bègles for Friday’s Champions Cup clash at Stade Chaban-Delmas shows minimal changes.
The Sharks’ mettle will once again be tested as they face Top 14 opposition in their Round Two match in icy cold Bordeaux.
Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell has largely stuck with the same team that defeated Harlequins 39-31 at Kings Park last week.
There is a welcome return for Springbok star Lukhanyo Am, who plays off the bench.
Am has completed his return to play and his presence later in the game could underline why he was nominated for the prestigious 2022 World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year award.
Also back in the side is Thomas du Toit, following his return from suspension and he replaces Carlu Sadie in the front row.
Ntuthuko Mchunu comes in for the suspended Retshegofaditswe Nche, the only other change to the starting line-up.
A loss for Bordeaux in the first round away to Gloucester means little in the French game.
They’re now playing at Stade Chaban-Delmas where home games are almost a religion and losing in front of their fan base is almost non-existent.
While the Sharks were full value for their win last week and deserved victors to say the least, they won’t have it easy against the team in the ninth spot on the Top 14 log.
The Sharks will be well aware of the need to build pressure, hold on to the ball and turn possession into points in their quest for a second successive win in this prestigious competition.
Sharks: 15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Lukhanyo Am.
Date: Friday, December 16
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
Kick-off: 21.00 (22.00 SA time; 20.00 GMT)
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referees: Hamish Smales, James Clarke
TMO: Dean Richards
🚨TEAM RELEASE 🚨
Lukhanyo Am is BACK 🤩
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— The Sharks (@SharksRugby) December 15, 2022