Bok-laden Sharks to face Sarries
The world's best hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, is among 12 Springboks named in a provisional Sharks squad to play Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday, January 25.
The reigning Currie Cup champions will play the current Premiership leaders, a unique clash between north and south, between the European Cup and the Super XV.
"It's a special challenge for us," Du Plessis said.
"Saracens have developed into a really strong team, and their recent success has been keenly followed in South Africa.
"They will present very tough opposition as we prepare for the Super XV, and we're excited to play on the artificial turf pitch at Allianz Park."
Jake White will be guiding the Sharks for the first time.
The World Cup-winning coach said: "Playing Saracens on the artificial turf at Allianz Park is just about the toughest match we could have organised as we conclude our preparations for the new season, but we are excited by the challenge.
"Saracens have been one of the most consistently successful clubs in Europe over the past few years and, with their close SA connections both on the field and in the boardroom, they are followed and supported by almost everybody associated with South African rugby."
Sharks – provisional squad: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter Stephanus du Toit, Adriaan Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Paul Jordaan, Ryan Kankowski, Peet Marais, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacobus Reinach, Francois Steyn, Timothy Swiel, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams, Frederik Zeilinga.