Durban - The Cell C Sharks side chosen to play Griquas in Kimberley in their opening Currie Cup game features a number of younger players mixed with older, experienced heads, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“We’re very excited ahead of our Currie Cup campaign,” said coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson. “We have a tough start playing Griquas away in Kimberley and everyone knows it’s not an easy place to go and get a result but the guys are looking forward to it.
“But we’ve had a good week’s training, there has been great energy, a lot of young guys, everyone is looking forward to playing - especially those who haven’t played as much rugby as they would have liked this year - so it’s a great opportunity and everyone is very excited.”
The defence of their title won in Cape Town last year gets off to a tough start against a side that is traditionally very strong early on, but it’s not a challenge of overwhelming concern.
The coach accepts that playing Griquas in Kimberley against a side that has been training and playing together for the last six weeks of the qualifying competition is a big ask.
“Griquas have probably had a bit more time to prepare than us, but we don’t use that as an excuse; we’ve trained hard this week, put a few things together and the guys are excited about playing, so they’re going to go out there and give it their all.
“We’re looking to go there, put a mark down and hopefully put in a good performance.”
Cameron Wright is set to make his debut at scrumhalf while Matt Stevens, JC Astle, Hanco Venter and Lionel Cronjé will all feature for the first time in Sharks colours when they come off the bench.
Kick-off for Saturday's clash in Kimberley is scheduled for 15:00.
15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (captain), 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Boela Serfontein, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts.
Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Hugo Kloppers, 20 RJ Liebenberg, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Marais Schmidt, 23 Ederies Arendse
15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Paul Jordaan, 11. Tonderai Chavhanga, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Cameron Wright, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Marco Wentzel, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. JC Astle, 20. Francois Kleinhans, 21. Hanco Venter, 22. Lionel Cronjé