The Sharks will be hosting the Free State Cheetahs at Mr Price KINGS PARK in one of the two Absa Currie Cup semi-finals this Saturday (2.30pm kick-off) with one of their strongest squads of the tournament.
The Sharks have done remarkably well with a young and inexperienced side in the absence of at least a starting XV away on national duty or injured over the course of the tournament, and last week, after introducing six of his returning Springboks, coach John Plumtree has named a powerful team to play Free State.
The whole front row has changed with “Beast” Mtawarira, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis named to start, while the medical staff will deliver a late decision on Jean Deysel on Friday – he has been bracketed in with Anton Bresler at lock. Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski and captain Keegan Daniel form a potentially devastating loose-forward trio while JP Pietersen starts ahead of Lwazi Mvovo who has been struggling with his hamstring this week. He will play off the bench along with Adrian Jacobs who replaces Jacques-Louis Potgieter.
“Everyone has to bring energy – this is a big game, a huge game,” explains Plumtree. “It was great to have the Boks back last week, but after having to integrate them, this week we’re a team, everyone has a big responsibility, not just them.”
A good crowd is expected although there are still tickets left and The Sharks coach is encouraging people to get behind The Sharks and come to the game. “Hopefully we’ll get some really nice support, it’s a 2.30pm game, the weather is going to be great, people will be able to braai and it’s going to be a fantastic contest to watch. Both sides play enterprising rugby and there will be a lot of action.”
Another significant achievement worth mentioning is the probability of flank Jacques Botes playing in his 100th Currie Cup game for The Sharks. “Since 2005, I’ve had some good times at The Sharks and I’m very grateful to still be playing,” Botes explains, “and there are still a few more game left in the tank. It’s been awesome, it’s gone fairly quickly and I’m excited to celebrate it in front of a home crowd.”
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