Sharks coach Robert du Preez says a number of senior players will return to the team for their final warm-up against the Vodacom Bulls in Ballito on Saturday.
After their Superhero Sunday friendly against the Lions last weekend, the Sharks are likely to name a more experienced starting lineup, including the likes of Ruan Botha and centre André Esterhuizen, who have returned from overseas stints.
Speaking to the media, Du Preez said his starting lineup is going to look similar to the one that will face the Sunwolves in their opening Vodacom Super Rugby fixture.
‘We will have a squad of 30 players for the game against the Bulls. We want to give the guys who are travelling to the Sunwolves the bulk of the game time. Most of those guys, like Rob [du Preez], André, Ruan, Coenie [Oosthuizen] and Beast [Mtawarira], will feature.’
Du Preez said he did not expect the late return of their players who played overseas during the off-season to disrupt the side that much as they head into their final week of preparations.
‘Not really. We can develop the youngsters and that’s what we want to do, especially in these pre-season games. Although the Sunwolves away are going to be tough opposition. I think every team has that problem or that challenge.’
Du Preez added that he hoped both Thomas du Toit and Makazole Mapimpi would be ready for their season opener after picking up knocks last week. Du Toit was a late withdrawal from the team to face the Lions after injuring his ankle in training, while Mapimpi was substituted during the match after pulling up with a tight hamstring.
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