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VIDEO: The players who can take Sharks to the next level

SPOTLIGHT: The Sharks are proving that they can build depth with the youngsters they have in the system.

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That was the view of Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi ahead of his team’s Challenge Cup quarterfinal against Edinburgh on Saturday.

A lot has been said about the Sharks’ recruitment process as they try to establish themselves as a powerhouse at franchise level.

With some strong financial backing, the team has lured several Boks to Durban over the last couple of seasons and one of them was Mbonambi.

More recently it was announced that Springboks Trevor Nyakane and Andre Esterhuizen will be joining the franchise later this year as well as Lions duo Jordan Hendrikse and Emmanuel Tshituka.

Despite the star power in the squad, it has been some of the young guns in the team that have impressed the most.

Those players include young centre Ethan Hooker and lock Corne Rahl.

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“It’s the goal of every union to get their junior players into the senior set-up as quickly as possible, to get them playing URC games and knockout games,” said Mbonambi.

“The more depth you have in these competitions the better you will do in both of them.

“We all want to be playing in the greatest competition in the world, the Champions Cup. We are all aiming for that, but to get there you need quite a lot of depth.

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“I think the way the Sharks are going about it, making sure they are playing those junior players and exposing them to big games, you will only get better.

“I am very happy to see young guys like Ethan Hooker and Corne Rahl sticking their hands up because, at the end of the day, some of us are not going to play rugby forever.

“It will be good to impart some of our knowledge and some of our experience to them.

“They want to play for the Sharks at a higher level and they want to make sure that the Sharks perform well.”

Meanwhile, looking ahead to Saturday’s quarterfinal at Kings Park, Mbonambi says the Sharks will need more than the experience from the Springboks to get through to the next round.

“We [Springboks] will definitely give some of our experience to the team, but it’s not just about us,” said Mbonambi.

“I think a lot of the franchises want to put the two different players [Boks and youngsters] in two different headings, but once we come here to the Sharks, it’s all about the team and not how many caps you have for the Springboks.

“We all do what we can to make sure that come game day everyone is prepared and everyone is ready to give their best for this team.”

@rugby365com

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