This week has been about prepping for the Lions and we have trained hard, the vibe in the camp is great and we’re really keen to get stuck into Super Rugby Unlocked.
DURBAN – The Sharks will field an imposing team against the Lions in the Super Rugby Unlocked opener on Friday night in Durban despite being without a host of injured key players.
Unavailable due to injury sustained during lockdown are Springbok wing Sbu Nkosi, fellow wing Madosh Tambwe, hooker Kerron van Vuuren and fullback Aphelele Fassi.
Nevertheless, coach Sean Everitt has been able to call on 13 players who featured in last week’s Springbok Showdown, including the entire front row of Ox Nche, Dylan Richardson and Thomas du Toit.
Five of the seven backline players named to play the Lions also played in the Green vs Gold match.
The halfback pairing of Sanele Nohamba and Curwin Bosch are joined by Werner Kok, captain Lukhanyo Am and fullback Manie Libbok.
Interestingly, at inside centre Marius Louw has edged out former SA Under-20 captain Jeremy Ward in the fight to replace André Esterhuizen, who left for the UK earlier this year.
Flank James Venter, who missed the friendly against the Bulls two weeks ago because of concussion, says the squad is primed to deliver a big performance.
“The camp is really excited. We knew going into the Bulls game that it was a warm-up match and we took that in our stride, although we learned a lot and will bounce back,” Venter said.
“This week has been about prepping for the Lions and we have trained hard, the vibe in the camp is great and we’re really keen to get stuck into Super Rugby Unlocked.”
Sharks (15-1): Manie Libbok, JP Pietersen, Lukhanyo Am (capt), Marius Louw, Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Sanele Nohamba, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Phendulani Buthelezi, James Venter, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Thomas du Toit, Dylan Richardson, Ox Nche. Bench (16-23): Dan Jooste, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, JJ van der Mescht, Celimpilo Gumede, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Thaakir Abrahams.