Though Curwin Bosch has been given the week off, new Sharks captain Phepsi Buthelezi will lead a familiar-looking side in their Currie Cup opener against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday afternoon.
South Africa’s premier domestic rugby competition will pit seven provincial franchises against one another over 14 weeks between Friday, 18 June and Saturday, 28 August, and with the Springboks away on national duty, this opens the window of opportunity for the unearthing of new talent.
Despite the withdrawal of the Boks, Sharks coach Sean Everitt has named a team filled with experienced players, all of whom logged game time during the recent Rainbow Cup SA competition.
The major change comes at flyhalf where Curwin Bosch has been given the weekend off, after playing plenty of rugby over the past couple of months, and Boeta Chamberlain comes into the starting lineup.
Commenting on the appointment of the new captain, Everitt said that it was Buthelezi’s leadership and maturity that made the decision an easy one.
“Phepsi was head boy at his school and captained the teams he played for at DHS and he’s a player mature beyond his years. He came to The Sharks at U19 level and excelled as a captain in the unbeaten team that won the trophy in 2018.
“Due to this and the performances, and his impressive leadership he became the national Under 20 captain in 2019, representing South Africa at the (World Rugby U20 Championship).
“He has been playing exceptionally well, he’s a guy who has come through the ranks and we believe he is someone who can use this Currie Cup experience as a leader to take the Sharks forward in an exciting future.”
Everitt has opted for a six-two split between forwards and backs on the bench. There is a potential debut as back Marnus Potgieter has been named on the bench after recently joining the Sharks from the Bulls.
Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Reniel Hugo, 21 Mpilo Gumede, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Marnus Potgieter.
Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix