Sean Everitt watched on Friday afternoon as his “probables” team, playing in white, put the blue-clad “possibles” to the sword in a Vodacom Cup trial match, to the tune of 34-14. Everitt’s squad will be bolstered today by a slew of players coming down from the extended Super Rugby squad, meaning the composition of the team will probably change; that said, he will be happy with the way his charges performed over the weekend.
A number of new faces were on display during the trial; for the white team, prop Oliver Kebble, whose father Guy was a hero for Natal back in the 90s, started in his dad’s old number 1 jersey, while former Free State under 21 loose forward Brendon Groenewald started at number 8. Scrumhalf Shannon Rick is also back in town after a stint with Griquas in the Currie Cup, with Rovers utility back Chris Micklewood also back in Durban – he played a role off the bench.
For the aquas, veteran Chris Jordaan featured at fullback after leaving Durban a few seasons back to play for the Pumas. Former TUT Vikings scrumhalf Manny Raposo and Bulls under 19 flank Stefan Willemse are also new on the scene, with the balance of both sides comprising a mix of contracted juniors and stand-out players from the local club scene.
Players such as Cobus Reinach, Monde Hadebe and Franna Kleinhans, who had trained with the Super Rugby squad all week, were played off the bench for the whites, with the resulting starting lineup showing exactly which side Everitt would pick were he not to have any Super Rugby players available. In that team, only Gouws Prinsloo and Peet Marais have tasted senior rugby for the Sharks (with a single Currie Cup cap each), while Rick’s handful for Griquas still leave the team total below ten; in short, while the Sharks XV may be a side brimming with youthful exuberance and no shortage of talent, it’s experience that looks likely to be lacking this year.
The white team scored six tries on the night, with fetcher Chris Cloete (2), Jaco van Tonder (2), Peet Marais and Monde Hadebe all scoring. The aquas replied with two scores of their own, through centre Jared Meyer and hooker Gideon Brewer.
15. Gouws Prinsloo, 14, Jaco van Tonder, 13. Piet Lindeque, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Rosco Speckman, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Shannon Rick, 8. Brendon Groenewald, 7. Brynard Stander, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Peet Marais, 4, Stephan Lewies, 3. Nick Schonert, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Danie Minnie, 18. Francois Kleinhans, 19. Cobus Reinach, 20. Chris Micklewood, 21. Tyler Fisher.
15. Chris Jordaan, 14. Kayde Fisher, 13. Wandile Mjekevu, 12. Jared Meyer, 11. Jors Danhauser, 10. Gavin Hauptfleisch, 9. Manny Raposo, 8. Braam Steyn, 7. Stefan Willemse, 6. Khaya Majola, 5. Paul Saunders, 4. JC Wasserman, 3. Max van Dyk, 2. Dean Muir, 1. Alan Dell.
Replacements: 16. Gideon Bruwer, 17. Ollie Dube, 18. Jandre Jacobs, 19. Peet Coetzee, 20. Hanco Venter, 21. Stefan Ungerer.