Sharks coach shows his hand ahead of Super Rugby opener
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has selected his strongest available squad to take on the Bulls in Saturday’s warm-up match at Ashton College in Ballito.
There were no injury concerns aside from a few minor niggles out of the Sunday clash with the Lions and du Preez admitted that his team is “all good to go for Saturday”.
Explaining his selection, the coach pointed out that: “The plan is to potentially start the same team against the Bulls that we would pick to play in our opening Super Rugby game. This match is very much a dress rehearsal for the Sunwolves game next Saturday.
“We have two full teams and when the game is finished on Saturday, everyone involved in the pre-season would have played, rewarding each one of them for the hard work they’ve put into this pre-season.”
The coaches have the good fortune of having an almost full squad of players at their disposal, with just a handful of players unavailable due to injury, but who are making steady progress and will return to action not too long from now.
Tendai Mtawarira, Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen will start in the front row with Hyron Andrews and Ruan Botha partnering at lock. Jacques Vermeulen, Tyler Paul and Dan du Preez complete the back-row trio.
Captain Louis Schreuder and Curwin Bosch start as the halfback pairing with Marius Louw and Lukhanyo Am partnering in the midfield. A young and exciting back three complete the team, du Preez going with Makazole Mapimpi, Sibusiso Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements – from: Juan Schoeman, Fezo Mbatha, Khutha Mchunu, Ruben van Heerden, Gideon Koegelenberg, Wian Vosloo, Luke Stringer, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Robert du Preez, Lwazi Mvovo, Andre Esterhuizen, Jeremy Ward, Leolin Zas, Courtney Winnaar, Kerron van Vuuren, Grant Williams, Rhyno Smith.
Date: Saturday, February 9
Venue: Ashton College, Ballito
Kick-off: 14.00 (12.00 GMT)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
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