Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has named a vastly changed team to take on the Bulls in Saturday’s Super Rugby Unlocked round three clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Springbok flyer Sbu Nkosi is back on the wing for the Black and White Dynamite having recovered from the injury suffered when the Sharks returned to training.
The Sharks return to the capital with a team significantly different from the one that lost to the Bulls at Loftus at the Super Fan Saturday exhibition, almost a month ago.
Everitt used that match, which the Bulls won 49-28, to give his extended squad some game time as the season resumed, but this week the Sharks mentor has picked a very strong matchday 23.
Three players are back from injury and will bolster Everitt’s side from their last visit to Pretoria, while the coach has made just one change to in the starting team that defeated the Lions in round one.
Nkosi, a member of the Boks’ Rugby World Cup-winning squad, returns to the starting line-up in place of veteran winger JP Pietersen.
Hooker Kerron van Vuuren and flank Henco Venter have both been passed fit to play, but have been named on the bench in their first matches since the suspension of Super Rugby in March.
Penxe set for debut off the bench
Also named on the bench is the hugely exciting Yaw Penxe. The former Kings flyer impressed at the Springbok Showdown.
The 23-year-old speedster, who hails from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape and is on loan to the Sharks, came to prominence for the Kings before starring in the Green team’s 25-9 victory over the Golds early in October.
Prop Thomas du Toit, like Nkosi a 2019 RWC winner admitted that things didn’t go quite to plan the last time the two teams but insists that Saturday’s clash offers the Sharks an opportunity to show their class and ability.
“That’s the great thing about rugby, you always get second chances and that’s how we’re looking at it mentally this week: that we have a second chance,” said Du Toit.
“It’s an opportunity to correct the mistakes we made three weeks ago. We’re very excited to play there again. It’s a massive opportunity but so too, a massive challenge and one we’ve taken on board.”
After their 19-16 home win over the Lions in the opening round almost two weeks ago, the Sharks had a bye last weekend. Saturday’s match, which kicks off at 19:00, will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe.
Match information – Bulls v Sharks
Date: Saturday, 24 October 2020
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Paul Mente
Television Match Official: AJ Jacobs
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby