Sharks load up on international talent for Bloem trip
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Sharks will travel to Bloemfontein to play the Free State Cheetahs in the third match of the pre-season Challenge Series.
The Cheetahs have already played two matches in the competition – losing a heartbreaker (30-31) to Western Province and beating Diables Barcelona 99-15.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt has mixed up his team by naming three new players, alongside many familiar faces.
Some of the younger members of the squad are also getting a run during this extended break from the United Rugby Championship.
With URC action returning next weekend, this is the ideal opportunity to keep squad depth active and game-ready.
There is also good news on the return of a Sharks favourite in Aphelele Fassi
The Springbok has been released from national duty and Everitt has named him in the matchday 23.
Samoan international flank Olajuwon Noa will start this match alongside fellow Samoan Ben Tapuai, who has represented Australia.
Dian Bleuler, a newly signed 22-year-old replacement prop from Western Province, is also in the mix.
The South African Under-20 player made his senior debut this year and will add depth to the Sharks’ front row.
Tapuai is well known in Australian circles, spending six years with the Reds and a further season with the Western Force during which time he made seven appearances for the Wallabies before playing in England at Bath and Harlequins.
Noa has two Test caps to his name and will no doubt look to impose his 1.94m tall and 112kg frame on the opposition.
Sharks: 15 Rynhardt Jonker, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter (captain), 7 Olajuwon Noa, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Aphelele Fassi.
Date: Saturday, November 20
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco Kotze, Darren Colby
TMO: Ben Crouse