Bongi Mbonambi Sharks World Cup Springbok

It was once thought that Bongi Mbonambi could be out for the whole season. Photo: BackpagePix

Top World Cup winning Springbok returns from injury

The Sharks have named a powerful matchday squad to face the Stormers, with a World Cup winning Springbok notably back from injury.

Bongi Mbonambi Sharks World Cup Springbok

It was once thought that Bongi Mbonambi could be out for the whole season. Photo: BackpagePix

The Sharks have endured a highly disappointing season to date, which has not been helped by the fact that Springbok stars such as Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch returned from the World Cup with injuries.

Mbonambi suffered a serious knee injury during the World Cup final, but has made a quicker than expected recovery, and has been named on the bench for this weekend’s URC battle against the Stormers.

The world-class hooker will feature off the bench alongside another key returning player Vincent Tshituka, who is also back from a long-term injury. 

“Ultimately, we’re looking for some consistency in our performances to find some real confidence and belief in how we can play this game and at times we have shown that,” coach John Plumtree said.

“We haven’t found that real consistency to how we want to perform, although there have been periods where we’ve played some of our best rugby, and when we played the Stormers down in Cape Town, it was a really gutsy performance built around pressure and good defences, and we really stood up in that department.

ALSO READ | All the kick-off times for South African matches as URC resumes

Unfortunately, though, as Mbonambi returns, it was recently confirmed that another Springbok superstar, Eben Etzebeth, has undergone knee surgery.

“It’s a long season and I feel like I’ve been handicapped by the fact that I’ve had a lot of injuries … it’s Bongi’s first game coming up and he’s our No 1 hooker,” Plumtree told reporters.

“Eben Etzebeth has started playing and now had a knee operation so he’ll only be back in a few weeks.

“So it’s been a bit frustrating for me that I haven’t been able to put out the kind of pack I’ve wanted to. If I put out the pack that I’ve wanted to, it makes the bench a lot stronger, with fresh legs coming off the bench after 60 minutes.”

ALSO READ | SA Rugby, Springboks on verge of banking R1.42 billion investment


“Lukhanyo (Am) is playing, that’s why he is here otherwise he’ll probably be on holiday. It’s not ideal but we understand the importance of it,” Plumtree added. “These boys have got a long season of playing northern hemisphere rugby and southern hemisphere rugby, which is crazy isn’t it?

“Until the players are committed to one hemisphere there’ll be a lot of disruption [in the interim], and hopefully that will happen over the next couple of years.”

Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Bradley Davids, 22 Siya Masuka, 23 Aphiwe Dyantyi.

CONFIRMED: Rassie Erasmus NO LONGER director of rugby


Friday, 16 February:
21h35: Zebre v Edinburgh (Parma)
21h35: Scarlets v Munster (Llanelli)

Saturday, 17 February:
15h00: Lions v Bulls (Johannesburg)
17h00: Leinster v Benetton (Dublin)
17h05: Sharks v Stormers (Durban)
19h15: Cardiff Rugby v Connacht (Cardiff)
21h35: Glasgow Warriors v Dragons (Glasgow)

Sunday, 18 February:
17h00: Ospreys v Ulster (Swansea)

WATCH: Double World Cup-winning Springbok ventures into NFL