The Sharks have named a strong under 21 side featuring a number of players with Currie Cup experience, including sensational hooker Kyle Cooper, unfortunate to be dropped from the senior squad to make way for the return of Bismarck du Plessis. Their opponents, the Young Lions, are struggling a little this season, since so many of their stars are currently playing senior rugby!
The return of Cooper to the front row will add much momentum and impetus to the tight five, but it’s perhaps the inclusion of Adriaan Theisinger at the back of the scrum that will have the tongues wagging a little more. After being snapped up by the Sharks on leaving school at the end of 2008, the former Grey Kollege number 8 has played no rugby whatsoever in 18 months after sustaining a horror knee injury shortly after arriving in Durban. At 1.96m tall and well over 100 kilos, big things are expected of him and it will be interesting to see if he’s now finally ready to fulfil some of that promise.
The return of Ross Cronje to the starting lineup sees Cobus Reinach demoted to the bench – a bitter pill to swallow for the young scrumhalf who has been one of the standout performers in Swys de Bruyn’s side over the first three rounds. Brother Guy remains on the bench this week, with Willie du Plessis retained at flyhalf, while another Grey boy, Piet Lindeque, comes up from the under 19s to take over from the injured Arno van Zyl at outside centre.
Baby Bok loose forward Lubabalo Mtembu has been named on the bench, after spending some time this week with the SA Sevens training squad.
Sharks under 21s:
15 Wynand Pienaar, 14 Mark Richards, 13 Piet Lindeque, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Adriaan Theisinger, 7 Meyer Swanepoel, 6 Jaco Otto, 5 Peet Marais, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Frans Hanekom, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick
16 Hannes Snyman, 17 Dexter Fahey, 18 Daniel Oijambo, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Gouws Prinsloo