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    Sharks coach: Players selected Schreuder as captain

    2019-01-17 08:21

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Sharks coach Robert du Preez has confirmed that the decision to select Louis Schreuder as captain for Super Rugby 2019 came from the players themselves.

    The appointment of the 28-year-old as skipper came as somewhat of a surprise on Wednesday, but speaking to media in Durban, Du Preez revealed that it was his leadership group that had made the call.

    Schreuder had led the Sharks to an impressive 17-12 victory over Western Province at Newlands last year in the Currie Cup final, enhancing his credentials as a strong leader in this group. 

    "As we all know he did a fantastic job during the Currie Cup," Du Preez explained.

    "He is a well-respected and very experienced guy. We have a very strong leadership group. There are 12 of them. You've got the likes of Philip (Van der Walt), Jeremy (Ward), Dan (Du Preez), Lukhanyo (Am), Lwazi (Mvovo), Beast (Mtawarira) ... there are some really strong leaders in there.

    "The captain was basically selected by the leadership group at the end of the day."

    With no Super Rugby break in 2019, Du Preez acknowledged that he would be rotating players a lot more regularly than he did in 2018 when the Sharks were eliminated at the quarter-final stage. 

    "Any one of those guys in the leadership group can step in and be captain on the day, so if we are rotating players and Louis has to be on the bench then we are blessed to have that strong leadership group," he said.

    "If I reflect on last year, we didn't rotate nearly as much as we should have.

    "We've got such a strong squad and we mustn't be scared to rotate players after two or three games. I think you'll see quite a bit of that and then the guys must perform."

    Jean-Luc du Preez aside, the Sharks have a fully fit group of players preparing for their tournament opener against the Sunwolves in Tokyo on February 16. 

    There is an air of familiarity about the squad as they enter their third Super Rugby campaign under Du Preez, with most of the players having been together in Durban throughout that period. 

    There is an addition to the coaching staff in the form of the highly-rated David Williams, who arrives as the new attack coach replacing Dick Muir. 

    Williams has coached in England with Bath and London Irish, the Kobe Steelers in Japan and he was also the attack coach for the Kings during their impressive Super Rugby campaign in 2016. 

    "He has brought a lot of detail to our play and a lot of structure. He allows the players to play what they see, but with cues," Du Preez explained.

    "I think that's the important thing, that these guys will know exactly what their opportunities look like.

    "We saw some flashes of brilliance, but we didn't have that ongoing consistency on that. We created so many line breaks, but we couldn't finish them and that's where David comes in.

    "The makings are all there for a great season."

    With the New Zealand sides obviously favoured to be the ones to beat in 2019, Du Preez believes the Sharks also have what it takes to go the distance. 

    "I think with the talent that we have, we'd be running out of excuses. We've got to do it this year," he said. 

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