Super Rugby

Sharks name side for Super Rugby opener

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Sharks Super Rugby head coach Robert du Preez has named his team to play the Lions in Johannesburg in the first match of the season.

Du Preez’s Sharks warmed up with matches againet the Bulls and Racing 92 during which there was an abundance of competition for each jersey.

The Sharks are looking to put a marker out on the competition and prove their worth against Lions’ side equally ambitious to get their campaign off to a winning start and to prove that they are the real deal.

Du Preez’s team selected for the clash shows a good mix of new and old, youth and experience with flyhalf Robert du Preez (Junior) and wing Makazole Mapimpi making their debuts for the team, having both featured prominently in the warm-ups.

Ruan Botha leads a generally very experienced pack, while Philip van der Walt and Andre Esterhuizen are both named to start following their Japanese club commitments during the off-season.

The side has a very settled look about it, and are excited to get their campaign underway.

“This squad has worked extremely hard in the pre-season and what’s especially pleasing to see is the vibe and excitement in the group,”said Head Coach, Robert du Preez.

“Every player was given an opportunity during the warm-up games and so many of them put their hands up, which made it extremely difficult to decide on our matchday 23. ”

“Naturally, the guys who have been left out will feel desperately disappointed as they have all put in the hard yards. I stressed the fact that this campaign is going to be a squad effort and every guy will be called upon, at different stages, to contribute to the team’s goals.

“This is an important game and a great start will set the tone for our campaign. We are excited to go out there and play.”

Sharks

15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Cameron Wright, 8. Keegan Daniel, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 6. Philip van der Walt, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Ruan Botha (c), 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Juan Schoeman, ,

Replacements: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. John-Hubert Meyer, 18. Beast Mtawarira, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Daniel du Preez, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Curwin Bosch, 23. Kobus van Wyk

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