Three fringe players have been called up to do duty for the Sharks in the Neo Africa Tri-Series in Cape Town next week, as part of a strong 27-man squad. Anton Bresler, Mark Richards and Dan Ojiambo will all have their chance to impress the coaching staff as injury has necessitated the withdrawal of a few of the Super Rugby squad.
As Sharksworld reported a few days ago, SWD Eagles loose forward Jacques Engelbrecht will join up with the team on a trial basis and should be in line for some game time, as the attrition rate amongst the loose forwards is high.
Regular squad members not to make the trip are Keegan Daniel, who has been struggling with a back injury, Jean Deysel (still out after knee surgery), Steven Sykes (calf) and Luzuko Vulindlu (knee). The two last-mentioned players sustained their injuries in Tuesday’s warmup game against the Sharks XV, although we are lead to believe that neither injury is serious enough to threaten their availability for the opening game.
Bresler, who was a surprise pick on the bench for the Currie Cup knockouts last year, ahead of Gerhard Mostert and Mike Rhodes, comes in to replace Sykes, while Ojiambo and Engelbrecht should occupy the spots vacated by the twins, Deysel and Daniel. Richards, who was unlucky to miss out on SA Sevens selection for Wellington and LA will join up with the squad to provide cover in the outside backs – his ability to cover wing, fullback and even outside centre making him a capable replacement for the unlucky Vulindlu.
Lwazi Mvovo has been included, despite concerns over a knock to his knee, while Bismarck du Plessis and Alistair Hargreaves seem to have recovered from niggling injuries as well.
Here is the 27-man squad named by the Sharks:
Forwards: Beast Mtawarira, John Smit, Eugene van Staden, Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Bismarck du Plessis, Anton Bresler, Alistair Hargreaves, Ross Skeate, Gerhard Mostert, Jacques Botes, Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski, Daniel Ojiambo
Backs: Charl McLeod, Conrad Hoffman, Pat Lambie, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Meyer Bosman, Riaan Swanepoel, Adi Jacobs, Stefan Terblanche, JP Pietersen, Mark Richards, Odwa Ndungane, Lwazi Mvovo, Louis Ludik