Sharks lose key players ahead of Pumas clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: A Sharks side boasting some new faces will travel to Mbombela Stadium to take on the Pumas in an important Super Rugby Unlocked clash on Saturday.
Head coach Sean Everitt has had to make a few changes due to injury, while also using rotation to keep the squad both fresh but also battle-hardened.
“Thomas du Toit is out because of injury and he’s replaced by John-Hubert Meyer, while Michael Kumbirai, who joined us last year, will have an opportunity to make his debut off the bench,” Everitt explained.
“For us, bringing in JJ van der Mescht was a rotational change. We need to keep the squad fresh and the guys energised and JJ has only had 40 minutes in the last two weeks, so we’re giving him an opportunity to keep him up to speed, to get game time and to see what difference he can make to our pack.”
The loose-forward trio has been rejigged. James Venter injured his ankle against the Bulls and he is replaced by Dylan Richardson, while Sikhumbuzo Notshe is out with a hamstring strain.
“We didn’t want to risk him [Notshe], and it gives Phepsi Buthelezi a run in his primary position which is eighthman. It’s a good opportunity for him to show what he can do,” said the coach.
Madosh Tambwe will also get his first run in the competition in place of Werner Kok.
“Werner has played with a lot of energy and Madosh was one of our better wings in Super Rugby and has returned from a hamstring injury sustained during the lockdown period. It’s also just a matter of giving him a run to see how he performs,” Everitt added.
There are two debutants named in the matchday 23. They are Michael Kumbirai and Thembelani Bholi, who hails from the Eastern Cape and has represented the Southern Kings as well as the Bulls and Pumas.
Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nché.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Egon Seconds
TMO: Marius Jonker
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— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) October 29, 2020