• Giant joins Sharks’ ranks

    Pumas lock Lubabalo 'Giant' Mtyanda has been training with the Sharks ahead of the new Super Rugby season.

    The Sharks returned for pre-season training earlier this week, where a number of new faces were on show. After falling away toward the tail-end of the 2014 Super Rugby season, the Sharks have looked to add some depth to their squad in a bid to strengthen their bid for a maiden title.

    With Stephan Lewies still on the sidelines and Pieter-Steph du Toit still working his way back to fitness after a long injury lay-off, Mtyanda has been drafted into the Sharks squad as extra cover in the lock position.

    Mtyanda was one of the standout players for the Pumas during their Currie Cup campaign and has been handed the opportunity to stake a claim for a place in the Sharks Super Rugby squad.

    'We've brought in Giant as backup and he has gone very well in our training,' Sharks assistant coach Sean Everitt told Business Day. 'He is thriving in our environment and has settled in very well in Durban so far.'

    Aside from a new coaching set-up, the Sharks have recruited a number of players during the off-season. Renaldo Bothma is another to have made the trip down from Nelspruit, while lock Mouritz Botha and wing Jack Wilson have joined from English club Saracens. Add to that the signing of Matt Stevens, who joined the Sharks ahead of the Currie Cup, and the Sharks believe they're in a stronger position than they were last season.

    'It's vital for us to have the requisite depth. A perfect scenario would be to have three players in each position, but it does not always work out like that,' said Everitt.

    'If you look at our schedule alone, we have 10 games on the trot, which will not be easy at all, plus there are a couple of friendlies that need to be thrown in within that busy period.

    'This time last year we did not have the depth we thought we had, but with the youngsters coming through the Currie Cup, with the likes of S'bura Sithole and Heimar Williams doing well and putting in a very good pre-season, I do think we are in good shape.'

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