Sharks director of rugby Jake White has selected six black Africans in his 26-man squad for their warm-up match against the Lions on Friday night.
Four of them – prop Beast Mtawarira, eighthman Tera Mtembu and wingers Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane – are in the starting XV with hooker Monde Hadebe and winger S’bura Sithole on the 11-man bench.
White was accused of not selecting enough players of colour during his time as Springbok coach, even though he picked nine for the match against the Wallabies at Ellis Park in 2005, which the Boks won 33-20.
White showed at the Brumbies that the colour of players' skin does not matter to him and he has shown it again by selecting what he believes is his best 26-man squad.
He indicated at training on Tuesday that the team for this match against the Lions would be the team that takes on the Bulls in the opening round of Super Rugby next Saturday.
'It’s going to be as close as it gets to a dress rehearsal,' he explained. 'I’ll give [the starting XV] as much game-time as I can in the first 40 or 50 minutes. Then if I’ve seen enough of what I need to, I’ll look to give other guys a run. But the quicker I can get cohesion and group work going the better it will be.'
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter–Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Ryan Kankowski, 22 Charl McLeod, 23 Fred Zeilinga, 24 Heimar Williams, 25 S’bura Sithole, 26 Jaco van Tonder.
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images