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Thomas du Toit returns to Sharks front-row for opening Currie Cup clash

Thomas du Toit returns to the Sharks’ starting line-up for their opening match of the 2020/21 Currie Cup against the Pumas in Durban on Friday.

Kick-off is at 19:00.

JEREMY WARD REMAINS SKIPPER OF THE SIDE

The Sharks will continue to be captained by Jeremy Ward, who took over the leadership of the team during the recently concluded Super Rugby Unlocked in the absence of regular skippers Lukhanyo Am and Henco Venter.

The team features a handful of changes from the Sharks’ last Super Rugby Unlocked match as coach Sean Everitt looks for continuity heading into the second half of the domestic season.

Manie Libbok returns to fullback, replacing the injured Anthony Volmink, in the only change to the backline.

Among the forwards, there’s a new-look back-row as Thembelani Bholi shifts from blindside flank to No 8. JJ van der Mescht takes Bholi’s place on the side of the scrum while Dylan Richardson replaces James Venter at openside flank.

‘JJ adds bulk to our pack and we believe that he has the necessary skill set to excel in that position,’ said Everitt.

‘It is an experiment to see how he goes in the absence of players like Henco Venter and Phepsi Buthelezi.’

In the only other change, Springbok tighthead prop Du Toit returns to the starting line-up after missing the past few weeks through injury.

There is also a potential debut for Blitzbok star Zain Davids who has been named as one of two loose forwards – along with Sikhumbuzo Notshe – on the bench.

In other matches in Round 1 of the Currie Cup, Griquas will host the Golden Lions in Kimberley (Saturday, November 28 at 16:30) and Western Province will welcome the Blue Bulls to Newlands (Saturday, November 28 at 19:00).

The Free State Cheetahs have a bye.

TEAMS:

Sharks

15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 JJ van der Mescht, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanru Jacobs, 19 Zain Davids, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Sbu Nkosi

Pumas

TBA

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