Durban - Frans Steyn
’s maturity has landed him the captaincy for the Sharks' opening warm-up match this Friday night against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg, reports Sharks website editor
, Michael Marnewick
The game will be the first of two pre-season friendlies for the coastal side, with their their game against the Pumas in Nelspruit.
Capped 56 times for the Sharks before he left for a period of club rugby in France, Steyn returned to South Africa last year and played two Super Rugby matches before the knockout rounds in his return to his former team.
He has also represented South Africa on over 50 occasions, and now finds himself a fairly senior player whose maturity and expected match requirements have pointed to him as a natural leader in the team. With last year’s vice-captain Bismarck du Plessis still in rehab for a knee injury and expected to miss the first few rounds of Super Rugby, it makes a lot of sense to have Steyn deputise for team captain Keegan Daniel
is going to captain the team because Keegan is going to play off the bench in our warm-up game this Friday,” explained coach John Plumtree after Tuesday morning’s field session.
“I saw him as good back-up to Keegan and it’s an opportunity for him to grow his leadership. I’ve noticed a big difference in him in terms of his personality and character since he’s come back from France. The players have a lot of respect for him as an individual and as a player.
“He’s a very competitive person, he doesn’t like to come second in anything he does and he’s probably going to be a regular starter.”
The Sharks side to play the Leopards is an interesting mix of new and old, with Franco van der Merwe getting a run for his new team together with the likes of regular campaigners in Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Patrick Lambie
, Lwazi Mvovo
and Odwa Ndungane
all starting, with plenty of experience to come off the bench. Teams:
15. Riaan Viljoen 14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Tim Whitehead 12. Francois Steyn
(Captain) 11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Patrick Lambie
9. Charl McLeod 8. Lubabalo Mtembu 7. Jean Deysel 6. Jacques Botes 5. Franco van der Merwe 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit 3. Wiehahn Herbst 2. Kyle Cooper 1. Allan Dell
Substitutes:16. Craig Burden 17. Tendai Mtawarira
18. Jandre Marais 19. Anton Bresler 20. Keegan Daniel
21. Cobus Reinach 22. Meyer Bosman
23. Paul Jordaan 24. Louis Ludi