Thomas du Toit has returned to the Sharks’ starting lineup for the opening match of the 2020 Currie Cup against the Pumas in Durban on Friday.
The Sharks will continue to be captained by Jeremy Ward, who took over the leadership of the team during Super Rugby Unlocked in the absence of Lukhanyo Am and Henco Venter.
The team feature just a handful of changes from the Sharks’ last Super Rugby outing against Griquas in Kimberley, as coach Sean Everitt looks for continuity going into the second half of the domestic season.
Manie Libbok takes up his regular place at fullback, replacing the injured Anthony Volmink, in the only change to the backline.
The Sharks will have a new-look back row as Thembelani Bholi shifts from blindside flank to No 8. JJ van der Mescht, who is more accustomed to starting at lock, takes Bholi’s place at blindside flank, while Dylan Richardson replaces James Venter at openside flank.
In the only other change, Springbok tighthead prop Du Toit returns to the starting lineup after missing the past few weeks through injury. Du Toit last played in their first-round Super Rugby Unlocked clash with the Lions.
There is a potential debut as Springbok Sevens player Zain Davids is one of two loose forwards – along with Sikhumbuzo Notshe – named on the bench.
Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward (c), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 JJ van der Mescht, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanru Jacobs, 19 Zain Davids, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Sbu Nkosi.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images