Sharks bring out the big guns for Sunwolves
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sharks coach Robert du Preez will unleash all his big guns on the Sunwolves, when the two teams meet in Singapore on Saturday.
Only a handful of players are unavailable due to injury.
With Curwin Bosch unavailable due to a shoulder injury – sustained in their pre-season draw with the Bulls last week – Robert du Preez junior will start his first game of the year.
“Rob du Preez was being managed, after playing overseas, but with the injury to Curwin Bosch, Rob will start at flyhalf,” the coach explained.
Other than that, there are no surprises in the team named to front up to the Sunwolves.
Louis Schreuder, who missed last Saturday’s game due to illness, has returned and will lead the side on Saturday.
Aside from one debutant in the starting XV, this is a side mixed with grizzled veterans and those who are making a name at this level – having experienced a season or two of Super Rugby action.
Aphelele Fassi, one of four youngsters making their debuts on Saturday, will start at fullback – with Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu and Phendulani Buthelezi all coming off the bench, having earned their positions in the match 23 following outstanding performances against the Lions and Bulls in the two pre-season hit-outs.
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“All the youngsters are very excited,” Du Preez senior said.
“They bring a lot of energy, they put a lot of pressure on the guys who have been around a while, so that competition is very healthy,” the coach added.
“I am sure every one of those players, when given the opportunity, will make the step up.”
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward.
Date: Saturday, February 16
Venue: Singapore National Stadium
Kick-off: 19.55 (12.55 SA Time; 10.55 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Minoru Fuji