Sharks boosted by returning Boks

Sharks boosted by returning Boks

The Cell C Sharks have been boosted by the return of a number of Springboks ahead of this weekend's Currie Cup clash against the Xerox Golden Lions.

Coenie Oosthuizen
Photo: Steve Haag

Sharks coach Rob du Preez had somewhat of a selection poser this week, with no less than three Springboks becoming available for selection as the Currie Cup enters the business end of the competition.

Upfront, Springbok prop Thomas du Toit has been thrust right back into the starting lineup for Saturday's crunch clash at Jonsson Kings Park.

The Sharks have also been bolstered by the return of Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who has completed a long road back to fitness after a serious knee injury.

Another Springbok, wing Sbu Nkosi, is also back in action and features off the bench.

Furthermore, Curwin Bosch returns to the starting lineup at fullback, in a rotational switch with Aphelele Fassi. The Springbok will add some needed experience against a highly talented Lions backline.

Looking to his first change upfront, Du Preez says Du Toit will benefit from some much-needed game time, having missed out on matches while on tour with the national side.

“Thomas hasn’t played for a while having been with the Boks so its great that he gets game time. It is always difficult to bring guys back in when the team has played well but its great to have him back and unfortunately John-Hubert Meyer and Khutha Mchunu miss out this week,” the coach said.

As for the returning Oosthuizen, who is an important figure for both the Sharks and Springboks, Du Preez plans to give the loosehead around 30 minutes of game time off the bench.

Lions ‘backlash’

With three matches left before the Currie Cup knockouts, things are set to get a lot more intense for the Sharks.

Starting this weekend, they face a Lions outfit with Springboks littered throughout their line-up.

The Sharks coach is expecting the Johannesburg outfit to come out firing to make amends from their loss to DHL Western Province last weekend.

“This is the business end of the season now and the next two games are massive for us. This one against Lions, especially with them coming off a big loss against Province. We’re expecting a backlash from them,” Du Preez said.

The Sharks coach has taken some pointers out of the Lions’ last result – but cautioned that those lessons won’t make the visitors any easier to beat.

“Province were just ruthless in their execution, especially on turnovers that the Lions gave them. We know what the Lions can do, they’re a team that also scores a lot of tries, and they’re unpredictable so we’re going to have to be on our toes to deal with that.”

The Sharks host the Lions at Kings Park. Kickoff is at 17h15.

Sharks team (15-1):

Curwin Bosch, Kobus van Wyk, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Daniel du Preez, Tyler Paul, Luke Stringer, Hyron Andrews, Gideon Koegelenberg, Thomas du Toit, Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Ruben van Heerden, Jacques Vermeulen,  Cameron Wright, Sbu Nkosi, Aphelele Fassi.

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