Powell reveals key Kolisi decision for Champions Cup
SPOTLIGHT: Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell has confirmed that Siyamthanda Kolisi will be his team’s captain for the duration of their Champions Cup campaign.
The Sharks will get their campaign underway will a tough fixture against England’s Harlequins at Kings Park on Saturday.
Kolisi and fellow Springbok Eben Etzebeth will both be making their first appearances for the team since a United Rugby Championship fixture against the Glasgow Warriors in October.
The Springbok leader has been entrusted with the captaincy duties for Saturday’s clash and Powell revealed it was not a one-off decision.
Regular captain Lukhanyo Am is currently injured, while Thomas du Toit, who has been leading the team in URC this season, is suspended.
“We have announced Siya as our captain for the EPCR [European Professional Club Rugby] season,” said Powell.
“He will only be captain for the Heineken Cup [Champions Cup] games and not for the URC games
“We will have the Boks available for all the EPCR games for the season, so we thought it was a good idea to make Siya captain for that whole campaign.”
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Meanwhile, Powell is expecting Etzebeth to be a key figure on the field again on Saturday.
In his one and only Sharks appearance so far, which was against Glasgow, Etzebeth produced a man-of-the-match performance and the Sharks are going to need something similar against a strong Harlequins team
“I think we do expect that same performance. That is what Eben brings to this team,” Powell explained.
“I think he has high standards for himself and he wants to be successful in everything he does.
“He has that internal drive to be the best in the world, whether he plays in a Springbok jersey or a Sharks jersey. I think he is just that type of person.
“He is the kind of athlete that might not play for a few weeks and then he gets back on the field and it looks like he played the last four games.
“We knew he had quite a bit of game time for the Boks in the November Test series and that was mainly the reason why we didn’t select him for the game against the Ospreys [in the URC] last weekend.”