Sharks Springboks

Ox Nche on the charge for the Sharks. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Springboks return to add firepower to Sharks

The Sharks have received a much-needed boost with the return of several Springbok stars for this weekend’s URC match.

Sharks Springboks

Ox Nche on the charge for the Sharks. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

The injection of Rugby World Cup winning Springboks back into the Sharks team is a major boost for the side ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash with the Dragons RFC at Kings Park.

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Head coach John Plumtree has welcomed back lock Eben Etzebeth, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, wing Makazole Mapimpi into the starting line-up alongside Lukhanyo Am who takes on the captaincy duties after making his return last week, while their national team-mates Ox Nche and Grant Williams will add firepower off the bench.

Fez Mbatha returns to action, taking over from Dylan Richardson at hooker after the Kearsney College old boy had to have surgery to his thumb, putting him out of action for approximately eight weeks.

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Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Subs: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Corne Rahl, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Bok boost for Sharks

Talking about what these World Cup winners bring to the team, Sharks attack coach Dave Williams explains that, “We’ve been celebrating the achievements of the Hollywoodbets Sharks players returning from the Rugby World Cup with them and they’ve brought a huge amount of energy with them which has been great for us as a collective.

“Having these players back and the confidence they bring, has been contagious and the rest of the group are all excited for Saturday’s game.”  

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Timely boost after five losses in a row

Although the results haven’t gone the way of the Hollywoodbets Sharks this campaign, there’s no reason to overthink things. But everyone involved does understand the need to turn things around.

“We have a long-term plan, but the immediate focus is around getting excited about finishing opportunities that we’re creating and maximising those rewards.

“We’ve spoken as a group around evolving our game and building pressure with the ball and through our transition game. We’re seeking rewards and the focus is on getting those conversions on the back of good rugby.

“Working for a franchise like this, you embrace the pressure of expectation. In terms of this being a must-win, we go out every game to deliver a performance that wins rugby games, and that’s no different this week.”

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