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Four stars return for Sharks clash with Rebels

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Sharks Super rugby head coach Sean Everitt has been able to bring four absent players from last week back to face the Rebels at MARS Stadium, Ballarat.

Thomas du Toit was a late withdrawal last week and his fellow front rower Ox Nche was shifted to the bench as cover, while Curwin Bosch was back in Durban for a family bereavement and Makazole Mapimpi left the field early with a head knock. All four are back in the starting line-up.

“Thomas caught a virus a couple of days before the match against the Hurricanes, he felt better on Saturday morning but became feverish again once we got to the stadium so we had to withdraw him,” head coach Sean Everitt confirmed.

There was mixed news on the injury front with the two backline players who left the field early in the Hurricanes’ game after sustaining head knocks.

Boeta Chamberlain has returned home after failing the return to play HIA test and Lwazi Mvovo has been called up in his place, named on the bench, but Makazole Mapimpi came through his protocols on Tuesday.

“Curwin is good to go and slots straight back into the team,” said the coach.

“Sanele Nohamba did a job for us at 10 and did a good job there, but he is more cover than a starting flyhalf.” Nohamba gets his first start at scrumhalf this week.

Andre Esterhuizen will take over the captaincy duties for Lukhanyo Am who is out this week, with Jeremy Ward taking his place.

With the disruptions minimal, the team will be hoping for fewer hurdles in this match, although Everitt refused to use that as an excuse.

“We never spoke after the game about the injuries or disruptions, the guys have all trained well throughout the pre-season and we’re not going to use that as an excuse. But obviously it does have an effect on the team, especially when you have to get guys onto the bench who weren’t expecting to play.”

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Andre Esterhuizen (captain), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikumbuzo 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 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

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