Sharks youngsters can prove their worth


And with the Sharks having already named a “second” side, that means plenty of opportunities across the park for up-and-comers to state their case.

The match kicks off at 9.45pm (and will be televised), and while it will almost certainly be a disjointed affair given that both teams will be fielding new combinations, the idea for both coaches is to see who can push for inclusion in the “A” team.

The Sharks have just one survivor from the 15 that ran out against Toulon last Friday, flank/lock Etienne Oosthuizen, while Springboks Willie le Roux and Marcell Coetzee, the captain, are starting after joining the tour late.

Those three are pretty much the only certainties in this team to start against the Kings in the opening round of Super Rugby (February 27), although wing S’bura Sithole would disagree, even if it means putting in a huge big performance to get ahead of Springboks J P Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo.

Pietersen is another who did not tour in favour of working on his fitness after returning from the less-than-taxing Japanese club circuit.

But what an opportunity for players to make a point. With injuries at flyhalf and lock, players in those positions have much to play for.

Garth April will be under close scrutiny because he and (fullback) Joe Pietersen are the frontline flyhalves for the opening rounds of Super Rugby following the injury to Patrick Lambie.

The Sharks have just two hookers in their squad, and last week Kyle Cooper started. Tonight Franco Marais gets his turn.

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Wandile Mjekevu , 13 Heimar Williams, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Marcell Coetzee (capt), 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Juan Schoeman.

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 18 Daniel du Preez, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Paul Jordaan, 24 Odwa Ndungane, 25 Joe Pietersen. - The Sharks

Original source: Sharks youngsters can prove their worth