Home Sport Injuries rock Sharks ahead of Bulls clash

Injuries rock Sharks ahead of Bulls clash

Siya Kolisi will be back for the Cell C Sharksfor the game against the Bulls this weekend. Picture: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

Before Sharks coach Sean Everitt announced his team for the match yesterday, it was stated that a host of players – many of them first-choice Boks could not be selected.

THE SHARKS have been rocked by a long list of unavailable players ahead of their United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls in Durban today, but they have nevertheless put together a formidable team including the Springbok captain and vice-captain in Siya Kolisi and Lukhanyo Am.

Before coach Sean Everitt announced his team for the match on Thursday, it was stated that a host of players – many of them first-choice Boks such as Aphelele Fassi and Ox Nche – could not be selected and that details could not be given because of the protection of privacy act.

The list includes some serious talent in Nche, Dylan Richardson, Fassi, Yaw Penxe, Grant Williams, Ben Tapui (former Wallaby centre), OJ Noah (former Samoa flank), Eduan Keyter (former Griquas wing), Jaden Hendrikse, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Thaakir Abrahams, so the return of Boks in Kolisi, Am, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi and Bongi Mbonambi is a welcome boost.

In these extraordinary times on and off the pitch, it is not difficult to read between the lines as to why some of those players are not available …

“We have picked a strong team this weekend even though not all of our top players are available … ” Everitt said.

“Siya is in great form at the moment, he is probably the form flank in the world right now, so it is great that we can select him and give him a crack on the openside flank.

Jeandré Labuschagne comes in at blindside flank and we rate him highly, but unfortunately he didn’t get enough game time this year due to unforeseen circumstances … But we sent him to the Cheetahs (two weeks ago) and he brings a different dimension … ”

Phepsi Buthelezi completes an exciting loose trio and in the second row, Everitt can call on a respected combination.

“Hyron (Andrews) and Ruben (van Heerden) have played many games together in the second row for us,” Everitt said. “We feel that we play our best rugby when they are at lock together.

“In the backs, Ruan Pienaar continues in the No.9 jersey and will support young Boeta Chamberlain who has shown good form in the URC of late …

“There will be question marks about our midfield (which has Am at No 12 instead of 13), but we feel that Jeremy Ward plays his best rugby at outside centre. And Lukanhyo was very good for us in the 2017 Currie Cup at inside centre … he leads the defence in the team and can do it even better from 12.”

With Fassi out, Anthony Volmink has an opportunity to continue the good form he showed overseas in September.

“Anthony has done well for us every time he has worn the jersey and one just has to go back to the Ospreys game to have a look at the good form he is in. He rounds up an exciting back three with Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi … So yes, we feel it is a very good team we have been able to select,” Everitt said.

Sharks (15-1): Anthony Volmink, Sbu Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Boeta Chamberlain, Ruan Pienaar, Phepsi Buthelezi, Jeandré Labuschagne, Siya Kolisi, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Ntuthuko Mchunu; Bench (16-23): Kerron van Vurren, Khwezi Mona, Lourens Adriaanse, Reniel Hugo, Henco Venter, Sanele Nhamba, Toti Bonilla, Werner Kok

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