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Marais leads Sharks XV

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 7 Mar 2013 at 10:01
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lock forward Jandre Marais leads a Sharks XV team packed with exciting youngsters, as well as Super Rugby fringe players, as they take on Border in tomorrow’s Vodacom Cup opener at Kings Park.

23-year-old Marais will reprise the role of captain that he fulfilled for much of last season, with younger brother Peet locking alongside him in a second row combination that is sure to get on well. Look out for some particularly hilarious moments in the second half, when hooker Franco Marais (who is unrelated to the brothers) takes the field.

There’s a welcome return to fitness for Monde Hadebe, who along with other fringe members of the Super Rugby squad in tighthead Allan Dell, flank Francois Kleinhans and eighthman Tera Mtembu, will start the game. That leaves Danie Mienie (from last year’s under 21s) and Brynard Stander (who played a few Currie Cup games last year) to complete a pack containing no players who haven’t at least played a season at this level before.

The backs are less experienced, but no less exciting.

Riaan Viljoen starts at fullback to add a smattering of experience, but there is no sign of Marius Joubert, who was expected to appear at outside centre. Instead, the phenomenally-talented Tyler Fisher will enjoy his first start at this level, outside a veteran of the Sharks XV in under-21 captain Heimar Williams. Blitzbok S’bura Sithole joins red-hot Sizo Maseko (who scored five tries in the last warm-up game) at wing, while Fred Zeilinga and Stefan Ungerer will play together among the halfbacks. Both have strong kicking boots, which may not need to come into play against Border, but should nevertheless prove a boon for the Sharks XV in weeks to come.

Marais (the hooker) is joined by two other Junior Springboks on the bench, in prop Maks van Dyk and flanker Khaya Majola. Making up the forward contingent is Johan “Plank” Meyer, the former Queens number 8 who was expected to be a star for the Sharks under 19s last year, before picking up a serious knee injury during the club season. Gouws Prinsloo and Hanco Venter are also on the bench and both have played plenty of rugby at this level before.

Look out, though, for young utility back Andre Esterhuizen, who will wear the number 21 jersey. Fresh out of school, he’s big, strong and fast and has been compared to our very own Frans Steyn by those who saw the great Bok play at the same age. If anyone is doubting whether to get down to watch this game, the opportunity to see this Esterhuizen kid get his first run could probably be reason enough to go!

Sharks XV (Kick-off on KP2 at 16h00 on Friday)

15. Riaan Viljoen
14. S’bura Sithole
13. Tyler Fisher
12. Heimar Williams
11. Sizo Maseko
10. Fred Zeilinga
9. Stefan Ungerer
8. Lubabalo Mtembu
7. Brynard Stander
6. Francois Kleinhans
5. Peet Marais
4. Jandre Marais (Captain)
3. Allan Dell
2. Monde Hadebe
1. Danie Mienie

16. Franco Marais
17. Nicolaas van Dyk
18. Johan Meyer
19. Khaya Majola
20. Hanco Venter
21. Andre Esterhuizen
22. Gouws Prinsloo


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