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Mtawarira to lead Sharks against Southern Kings

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Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has named Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira as captain of the team to play the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

Regular Sharks team captain Patrick Lambie was injured on their trip to France for the Super Rugby pre-season so Gold has named Mtawarira as stand-in captain

“We are excited to announce the appointment of Beast as stand-in Super Rugby captain in the absence of Pat Lambie,” said Gold.

“Beast has been part of our leadership group under Pat and is a respected and key member of our squad.”

“Pat is still the team captain; however his injury lay-off has necessitated an interim change in captaincy and the appointment of Beast made sense. He was vice-captain in our match against Toulon and when Pat went off the field, we felt that Beast did a particularly good job that night.”

“Beast has been at the Sharks for 10 years now and his heart bleeds for this team. He has grown in leaps and bounds as not only a player and one of the best loose-heads in the world, but as a leader and a revered member of the team.

Gold has named former Stormers and Cheetahs back Joe Pietersen at fly half in a back line that will see Willie le Roux win his first cap for the Sharks at fullback.

Speaking about the Super Rugby tournament opener Gold said, “We are excited to get the competition underway. Our focus over the last week was to concentrate our energies on working on arrears we believed needed work in, after our pre-season tour to France.

“Playing the Kings this weekend will be a challenging first task. We believe that they are a team that have gelled well in the last couple of weeks, through adversity. We giving them a lot of respect because they are a very dangerous outfit and we know that throughout this season they’ll want to make their mark.”

Sharks

15. Willie le Roux , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Hyron Andrews , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Coenie Oosthuizen , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements : 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Juan Schoeman , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Dave McDuling , 20. Philip van der Walt , 21. Michael Claassens , 22. Garth April , 23. S’bura Sithole

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