Cape Town - As they celebrate the 125th anniversary of the union, captain Marco Wentzel says it’s an honour to represent the Sharks.
To celebrate the occasion, the Sharks will play in a special commemorative jersey when they host Western Province in a Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday.
It’s their way of honouring the legacy of 125 years of rugby in the province.
“It’s an honour to play for the Sharks because of what those previous players achieved and created,” Wentzel told the Sharks’ official website.
Wentzel will once again be leading the team, one of a long line of captains that includes such great servants of the province as Tommy Bedford, Wynand Claassen, Craig Jamieson, Wahl Bartmann, Gary Teichmann, John Smit, Mark Andrews and more.
“There is something special about the Sharks, otherwise, this is ‘just another team’. If it wasn’t for those players, there would be no Sharks, there would be no legacy and as players, we want to play for this team and we also want to achieve what they have.
“I believe that there is so much talent in this group, and not only that, but good people with a strong work ethic. I feel confident about where the Sharks are going and optimistic that we will get there.”
Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, echoed Wentzel’s statements.
“This is a massive privilege for us, a huge thing,” said Gold. “This comes at an interesting time for us, as a fairly new group and one thing we value is starting this journey we’re going on, to hopefully one day be the players leaving a legacy of their own. Those guys from the team of the ‘90s can be proud to say they left a massive legacy here, the most successful decade of Sharks rugby.”
Three recent Currie Cup trophies - in 2013, 2010 and 2008 - are a fitting tribute to the legacy of the previous decade when successful Sharks (formerly Natal) sides won four trophies.
The first came in the historic 100th anniversary in 1990, and a further three followed in 1992, 1995 and 1996.
15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Wandile Mjekevu, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Francois Kleinhans, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Dave McDuling, 19. Christiaan de Bruin, 20. Michael Claassens, 21. Heimar Williams, 22. Garth April
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12. Huw Jones, 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Nic Groom (captain), 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Robert du Preez, 22. Kobus van WykMarco Wentzel