Sharks at full-strength for Newlands showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sharks have named their side to travel to Cape Town to take on Western Province on Saturday boasting a strong line-up for the crunch match.
The Sharks head coach has now been able to select from a full squad after Covid-19 delays allowed those not available to get through the protocols and return for contention.
Springbok prop Thomas du Toit is back from a few weeks on the sideline.
The inclusion of Du Toit, in place of Michael Kumbirai at tighthead prop, is one of five personnel changes to theSharks’ starting team from their last match, on Second New Year against Griquas in Durban.
Dylan Richardson and Sanele Nohamba are promoted from the bench and will start at flanker and scrumhalf respectively, while the experienced backline duo of Marius Louw (centre) and Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi are also back in the run-on side.
Springbok midfielder Lukhanyo Am leads the team with flank Henco Venter adding his voice to the leadership that will be required in a high stakes clash such as this one.
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) January 21, 2021
Am, in the lead-up to the game, admitted: “The delay was a blessing in disguise, giving teams a longer period to prepare for the semi-finals and to sharpen up on the issues that needed to be improved upon.”
He added that he didn’t believe there would be a break in their momentum, saying: “With the group we have that’s been together for a long time, missing a week isn’t something that we feel will bite us. It happens normally in season and I still believe it came at the perfect time.”
The match has been hyped up as pitting an exciting Sharks’ backline against a dominant Province pack and Am felt that both sides will be looking to counter their opponents’ strengths.
“We know what Western Province’s strengths are in terms of set-piece dominance, they’ve proven it throughout the comp, so from our side, we’ve been working on us mainly, to try strengthen any parts we feel need working on.
“If we’re able to get our own set-piece going and challenge them on theirs, I think it will be a very exciting game to watch.”
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Manie Libbok
Date: Saturday, January 23
Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Stuart Berry
💥The Cell C Sharks starting XV brought to you by #OurSharks fans!💥
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) January 21, 2021