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Strong Sharks XV named for opener


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 6 Mar 2014 at 14:17
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sharks XV get their Vodacom Cup campaign underway in East London tomorrow night, when they face the Border Bulldogs at 7pm. New coach Deon Kayser has named a formidable side packed with experience for the encounter.

Old man Sangoni “Mox” Mxoli returns after a long absence indeed, earning his 16th Vodacom Cup cap for the Sharks at loosehead prop, a full seven years after he last played for what was then the Wildebeest. The 29-year-old has also played for the Blue Bulls and EP Kings at this level, but has been plying his trade for Rovers in Durban for the last few years while working as a Sports Officer at Westville Boys High. Next to him in the front row are two younger players whose names are just as familiar to fans – Monde Hadebe (a Westville product himself) as hooker and the 37-time Super Rugby player Wiehahn Herbst at tighthead.

The lock combination re-unites a pair who played plenty of times together during last year’s Currie Cup campaign, new father Edwin Hewitt (whose son Edwin was born yesterday) and the adaptable Peet Marais. Captain Tera Mtembu adds Super Rugby experience to the back row, where he’ll partner young Khaya Majola and Francois Kleinhans in the loose trio.

Hewitt is the only member of the starting pack not to have come through the Sharks Academy.

There are more home-grown lads in the backline, with Stefan Ungerer (Maritzburg) and Fred Zeilinga (Glenwood and the 2013 Vodacom Cup Player of the Year) running the show from halfback. Exciting Endre Esterhuizen will be at 12, alongside an exciting young prospect in 20-year-old Neil Maritz. Hansie Graaf, who finally makes a competitive competition debut for the Sharks, adds experience at fullback, while wings Sizo Maseko and Alcino Izaacs, like the rest of the backs, have come through the Sharks age-group system.

On the bench, the one to watch is 18-year-old prop Thomas du Toit, who is next to former Junior Bok Franco Marais as hooker replacement. Marco Wentzel continues his comeback from shoulder surgery in jersey 18, while young Johann Meyer is the replacement loose forward. Tim Swiel lurks besides scrumhalf Hanco Venter and utility back Keelin Bastew amongst the backline replacements.

The Sharks XV

15. Hansie Graaff
14. Sizo Maseko
13. Neil Maritz
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Alcino Izaacs
10. Fred Zeilinga
9. Stefan Ungerer
8. Tera Mtembu (captain)
7. Francois Kleinhans
6. Khaya Majola
5. Peet Marais
4. Edwin Hewitt
3. Wiehahn Herbst
2. Monde Hadebe
1. Mox Mxoli

Replacements
16. Franco Marais
17. Thomas du Toit
18. Marco Wentzel
19. Johann Meyer
20. Hanco Venter
21. Tim Swiel
22. Keelin Bastew



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