Sharks coach Sean Everitt says he is looking forward to seeing how young scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse performs in his first start against the Cheetahs on Sunday.
After making his Currie Cup debut off the bench in last weekend’s loss to the Lions in Johannesburg, Hendrikse will make his first start for the Sharks when they travel to Bloemfontein to face the Cheetahs.
The 20-year-old was set to play for the Junior Springboks for a second time this year, before the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the Junior World Championships being called off.
However, with incumbent Sanele Nohamba, who has started the majority of the Sharks’ Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup matches, being rested, Hendrikse will get an opportunity to show why he is rated as one of the country’s most promising scrumhalves.
‘Sanele has got a rest this week, with Jaden Hendrikse getting a start and Grant Williams coming in on the bench,’ Sharks coach Everitt said. ‘Sanele has played a lot of rugby this year and he deserves a break. We are looking forward to the opportunities that the other two youngsters are getting and seeing how they go.
‘With a bit more time with Jaden, I am sure that he will improve with time in senior rugby. As you all know, he is still under 20 and a youngster, so it’s a good opportunity and exciting for him. ‘
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Lions, the Sharks are currently third on the table with two games to go before the playoffs.
Sunday’s match will be the first of two difficult away games to finish the Sharks’ round robin campaign, with a trip to Cape Town to face Western Province in a couple of week’s time.
Everitt said that despite the strange circumstances of training on Christmas Day, morale is high in their camp and the Sharks will be looking to take that energy into Sunday’s match.
‘The preparations for the Cheetahs this week has gone really, really well. The guys have learned from the mistakes they made against the Lions. We have identified the areas we needed to work on. The guys have gone about their business as usual, with a lot of energy and intent to rectify the poor result against the Lions.
‘It has been a strange week this week being Christmas, but the guys have embraced the Christmas feeling and have certainly taken to the field with a lot of energy, Training on Christmas day was slightly different, but the guys have worn their Christmas hats and had a secret Santa this morning. We are looking to really bring that Christmas feeling to the game on Sunday. ‘
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images