Durban - The Sharks have been bolstered this weekend by the inclusion of two Springbok front rankers for their Currie Cup clash against the Golden Lions in Durban.
The return to action of Thomas du Toit and Coenie Oosthuizen (the latter off the bench) should play some part in calming an exciting and excitable young side and their inclusion couldn’t come at a better time as the Sharks look to finish off the pool stages of the competition in winning style.
Oosthuizen will play his first match since injuring his knee while on Springbok duty against Ireland in November last year.
The match, kicking off at 17:15 on Saturday, sees just two changes to the team that defeated the Pumas last weekend. In the front row, Du Toit comes in for John-Hubert Meyer at tighthead prop while Curwin Bosch returns to the fullback position, rotating once more with Aphelele Fassi who made his run-on debut against the Pumas.
Oosthuizen makes his much-awaited return in the No 17 jersey after a long-term injury while Ruben van Heerden, the newly-signed 20-year-old Bulls and SA Under-20 lock who has joined the Sharks on a three-year contract will look to earn his debut off the bench.
Springbok wing S'bu Nkosi, meanwhile, is also back from injury and he will play off the bench.
"Patience and accuracy on attack - that’s a big thing for us and a lack thereof has been something we’ve discussed a lot," explained flyhalf Robert du Preez of his team’s intent.
"We are a young group and we really want to play which isn’t a bad thing at all, but we’ve been rushing things and our execution has suffered as a result and that’s not good. Impatience has been our downfall and it’s meant that we’ve ended up conceding a lot of turnovers.
"It’s the one thing holding us back from clicking but I do believe that once we do click as a team then we’re going to be dangerous, considering all the talent we have.
"So, despite not clicking, we have maximum points (15 from three matches with bonus point wins against Free State, the Bulls and the Pumas) so as far as the log goes, we couldn’t ask for more."
The Sharks have three games left - this week’s match against the Lions, followed by Western Province then Griquas - before the knock-out rounds.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11
Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7
Tyler Paul, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3
Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman
16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Ruben van Heerden, 19
Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Sbu Nkosi, 22 Aphelele Fassi
Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi,
11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (captain), 8
Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno
Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sti Sithole
16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Reinhard Nothnagel, 19 Driaan
Bester, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gianni Lombard, 22 Wandisile Simelane