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    Sharks move young giant to tighthead

    2018-01-26 08:35

    Cape Town - Thomas du Toit will be used solely as a tighthead prop in 2018, Sharks coach Robert du Preez has revealed.

    Du Preez on Thursday named a 45-man squad ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

    The 22-year-old Du Toit, who is listed on the Sharks' official website as 1.87m and 136kg, played mainly as a loosehead in 2017.

    But with Coenie Oosthuizen sidelined with a serious knee injury, Du Toit will get a chance to establish himself in the tighthead position.

    Speaking at a press conference in Durban on Thursday, Du Preez said the decision to move Du Toit to tighthead was done after consultations with SA Rugby’s scrum guru Pieter de Villiers.

    “Thomas is 100% committed to the change,” Du Preez said.

    Meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha was named captain for the season.

    “Ruan was handed the captaincy armband for last year’s Currie Cup campaign and led from the front with strong performances and showed growth as a leader, as the competition progressed,” Du Preez said.
     
    “I’ve been impressed with his maturity and hunger to improve not only his game, but to take forward the team’s ambitions as well.”

    The Sharks play two warm-up matches prior to the start of their Super Rugby campaign, which commences against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday, February 17.  

    The first warm-up match is against the Bulls in Polokwane followed by a trip to Hong Kong to play Racing 92.

    Sharks squad:

    Forwards

    Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Daniel du Preez, Franco Marais, Gideon Koegelenberg, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Jean Droste, Jean-Luc du Preez, John-Hubert Meyer, Juan Schoeman, Keegan Daniel, Kerron van Vuuren, Khuta Mchunu, Lubabalo 'Tera' Mtembu, Mzamo Majola, Philip van der Walt, Ross Geldenhuys, Ruan Botha (captain), Stephan Lewies, Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul, Wian Vosloo

    Backs

    Andre Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, Courtney Winnaar, Curwin Bosch, Garth April, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Johan Deysel, Kobus van Wyk, Leolin Zas, Louis Schreuder, Lukhanyo Am, Lwazi Mvovo, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Michael Claassens, Rhyno Smith, Robert du Preez, S'busiso Nkosi, Tristan Blewett

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