Werner Kok with Ben Tapuai. Photo: Twitter

Former Wallabies player to make Sharks debut in URC

Australia-born Ben Tapuai is set to make his Sharks debut alongside Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am in Saturday’s game against the Lions.


Werner Kok with Ben Tapuai. Photo: Twitter

Tapuai, who previously played for the Reds and Western Force, is now set to make his debut for the Sharks in a Springboks-laden backline.


Sharks coach Sean Everitt named a powerful line-up for his team’s first United Rugby Championship clash of the year as they prepare to play the Lions on Saturday.

Despite missing a handful of Springboks and given that the Currie Cup has also dipped into the Sharks player pool, Everitt has still been able to select a very strong side for the match at Emirates Airline Park (3pm).

Lukhanyo Am leads the side and he is joined by a Test-laden backline, with all the familiar faces amongst a bruising pack.

Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi explains where the team is in terms of a mental and preparation space and points out that the learnings they have taken on-board will stand them in good stead as the competition now resumes after the tournament broke for the festive season holidays.

“It’s been a tough two weeks after the break and our focus has been on reflecting on phase one of the URC which was a difficult challenge playing overseas. The learnings taken from that into this phase of the URC has been good for us and we’re looking forward to getting out there and rectifying our mistakes and building from there.

“The mood in the camp is relaxed, everyone is eager to get out there and play. There’s a lot of energy at training, the boys want to put in a good effort every session, even though it’s scorching out there. But everyone is happy that there are fixtures and that we’re able to play again.”

Casting his mind to their opponents on Saturday, Fassi commented: “We know the Lions are full of intensity, but with that comes mistakes and one thing we’ve looked after is being able to capitalise on opportunities that we receive, so to convert four from five opportunities would be great. And then playing in the right areas of the field is something we want to achieve.

“We’re expecting a very fast game,” he adds. “They’re a team that loves to play with a lot of intensity and keep the ball in play and we’re looking forward to the game.

“For some of us, it’s our first taste of URC rugby, for some it’s their first game in a long time and we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”


Tapuai to start at 12 in powerful Sharks team

1. Ox Nche
2. Kerron van Vuuren
3. Thomas du Toit (v/c)
4. Ruben van Heerden
5. Hyron Andrews
6. James Venter
7. Jeandre Labuschagne
8. Phepsi Buthelezi
9. Grant Williams
10. Boeta Chamberlain
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Ben Tapuai*
13. Lukhanyo Am (c)
14. Sbu Nkosi
15. Aphelele Fassi

16. Fez Mbatha
17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
18. Khutha Mchunu
19. Reniel Hugo
20. Henco Venter
21. Jaden Hendrikse
22. Tito Bonilla
23. Jeremy Ward