Sharks Super rugby head coach Sean Everitt has largely retained the starting line-up that took on the Stormers in the Superhero Sunday preseason warm-up match for their season opener.
The Sharks host the Blues at Kings Park on Friday evening and have included a number of players set to make their Super Rugby debut in the black and white jersey.
Making their run-on debuts are three forwards, loosehead prop Ox Nche, flank James Venter and eighth man Sikumbuzo Notshe, who all made the move to Durban late last year.
Le Roux Roets (lock) and Henco Venter (loose forward) – also new signings – together with local talents who performed in last year’s Currie Cup, scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba and flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain, play off the bench.
“There’s a strong vibe in the camp and we’re all looking forward to Super Rugby kicking off,” Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch admits.
With Bosch settled in the number 10 jersey, he recognizes this as an opportunity to entrench himself. “For me to grow in confidence at 10, I need game time there, that’s how a player gets better and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Opposite him is 35-year-old Springbok Morne Steyn who returns to Pretoria after a stint of French rugby and Bosch admits that Steyn will be an important factor for the men in blue.
“Morne brings a lot of experience to his side, they’ve lost quite a few players overseas and because he’s such a good kicker, we know our discipline and game management need to be really sharp this weekend.
“But we’re going into this weekend’s game with a plan and if we stick to it, we should be successful.”
15. Aphelele Fassi , 14. Sbu Nkosi , 13. Lukhanyo Am (c) , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Makazole Mapimpi , 10. Curwin Bosch , 9. Louis Schreuder , 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe , 7. Tyler Paul , 6. James Venter , 5. Hyron Andrews , 4. Ruben van Heerden , 3. Thomas du Toit , 2. Kerron van Vuuren , 1. Ox Nche
Replacements , 16. Craig Burden , 17. Juan Schoeman , 18. John-Hubert Meyer , 19. Le Roux Roets , 20. Henco Venter , 21. Sanele Nohamba , 22. Boeta Chamberlain , 23. Jeremy Ward