Durban — The Sharks will integrate their Springbok players back into the team for their home United Rugby Championship (URC) match against the Glasgow Warriors on October 15 so in the meantime, it is the squad that Sean Everitt has overseas that will be tasked with slaying the Dragons in Newport on Saturday night and then Leinster in Dublin next week.
Everitt said from Newport after naming his team for the Dragons that his wealth of Boks will enjoy this week off after the end of the Rugby Championship and then next week will report for training at Hollywoodbets Kings Park under the coaches who stayed behind, Joey Mongalo and Etienne Fynn.
The Sharks boast more Boks than most from the recently ended Championship — Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Jaden Hendrikse — and they will provide a major boost when the team gets back from their tour.
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They will only be available for two matches before they head off to Europe for the November tour, but what an impact they can make against the Warriors and week later against Ulster, the top Irish side.
“Joey and Etienne will bring the Boks up to speed with what we worked on in the pre-season,” Everitt said Thursday. “We have quite a number of Boks and we need to integrate them into the ranks.
“They are quality players and we respect their need for a little rest and thus did not want to rush then over to the tour squad,” the coach added. “If we had been at home (at the end of Rugby Championship), it might have been different, so for now we will only call up one or two of them if we pick up injuries on tour.”
The Sharks have already had an injury setback after fiery lock Gerbrandt Grobler picked up a bicep injury in a freak accident in training on Tuesday, and he has returned home. Grobler had been a stand-out performer in the last URC before picking up a serious leg injury and has only just made his comeback, in last week’s defeat of Zebre.
“Justin Basson (the signing from the Cheetahs) replaces Gerbrandt,” Everitt said. “He played well off the bench last week against Zebre and adds physicality and weight to the second row. He is a strong defender, especially in the maul.”
In April, the Sharks pumped the Dragons by 50 in Durban but Everitt warns that they will be a different proposition at the Rodney Parade.
“They are a different team now with a different coach and home conditions,” Everitt said. “We played them in Durban when it was hot and humid. We saw from their win last week (over Munster) that they pride themselves on the collisions and enjoy the physical exchanges, so we have to be up for that.”
Sharks starting XV: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Thomas du Toit (capt), 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu. Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marnus Potgieter, 23 Anthony Volmink