Strong Sharks side to face Toulon

Director of rugby Gary Gold has named a strong side for the Sharks' pre-season clash against Toulon on Friday.

A close to full-strength backline sees Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie combine as the halfback pairing, while André Esterhuizen and Paul Jordaan will slot into the midfield. Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane and Joe Pietersen will make up the back three.

Up front, new recruit Coenie Oosthuizen will start alongside Kyle Cooper and Beast Mtawarira, while former Stormers lock Ruan Botha slots into the second row with Etienne Oosthuizen. The Du Preez brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, will start in the loose trio, with Francois Kleinhans at openside flank.

'This weekend’s game is a nice opportunity to test ourselves and see how far we’ve come, with what’s been quite a lengthy pre-season,' Gold said. 'We’ve selected a strong side against what should be a good Toulon team.

'It’s a great opportunity for youngsters such as Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez to get their first start in the Super Rugby squad. The guys are really excited and I know that we will be a bit rusty in comparison to a Toulon team that are mid-season and have been playing together for a few months, but that's the type of challenge we wanted.'

The match, which kicks off at 9:30pm SA time, will be broadcast on SuperSport.

Sharks – 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Pat Lambie (c), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez , 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Giant Mtyanda, 20 Dave McDuling, 21 Hyron Andrews, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Michael Claassens, 24 Garth April, 25 Heimar Williams, 26 Johan Deysel, 27 Wandile Mjekevu, 28 S'bura Sithole.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis