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Sharks XV to come out firing


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Vodacom Cup on 19 Mar 2015 at 11:15
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Sharks XV coach Ryan Strudwick can not be accused of much subtlety – nor of keeping his powder particularly dry – when it comes to the line-up chosen for this weekend’s Vodacom Cup opener against the Border Bulldogs at Kings Park.

With a pack that would be considered strong at Currie Cup level, and a smattering of Super Rugby experience down the attacking axis of the backline, this is not a side to be toyed with. While it will, of course, be hard to maintain this level of experience in the side throughout the competition (particularly when the Super Rugby squad goes on tour) Strudwick certainly has the right pieces in place to ensure a successful season; then again, we tend to say that every year!

Of the starting pack, props Thomas du Toit and Matt Stevens (a capped international) boast Super Rugby experience, as does lock Etienne Oosthuizen, hoping to use this opportunity to build up some match fitness after an injury sustained in pre-season. Monde Hadebe (at hooker), JC Astle (lock), Khaya Majola (flank) and Johann Meyer (number 8) all played Currie Cup rugby for the side last year, with 19-year-old Jean-Luc du Preez the only player in the pack yet to taste senior rugby. Twin brother Daniel made his Super Rugby debut last week, of course, and Jean-Luc will be keen to show that he got his fair share of the du Preez family skills.

Halfbacks Stefan Ungerer and Fred Zeilinga know each other well and have both played many times at higher levels than this, as have centres Heimar Williams and S’bura Sithole. The latter picked up an injury in the first-round Super Rugby game against the Cheetahs and like Oosthuizen will look to build match fitness with the Sharks XV ahead of a return to Gary Gold’s matchday 23.

Namibian winger Alcino Izaacs joins Sizo Maseko and Jaco van Tonder (both of whom have Currie Cup experience) in an exciting back three. Fullback van Tonder, of course, also has three Super Rugby caps to his credit but will look to make a big statement this season in a position where the Sharks are a little short of depth.

The bench includes a number of younger players hoping to make their mark; prop Marne Coetzee, lock Hyron Andrews and utility forward Sias Koen have all played age-group rugby, as has Super Rugby squad member Franco Marais (who earned a cap against the Highlanders last year). Hanco Venter, Legend Marwana and experienced Lionel Cronje complete the bench contingent.

Sharks XV: 15 Jaco van Tonder, 14 Alcino Izaacs, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Sizo Maseko, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Stefan Ungerer , 8 Johann Meyer, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 JC Astle, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Monde Hadebe (capt), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Marne Coetzee, 18 Hyron Andrews, 19 Sias Koen, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Nkululeko Marwana



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