Sharks under 19 coach Etienne Fynn has made changes to his side to face the Leopards in Potchefstroom this weekend, knowing that nothing other than a big bonus-point win will suffice. Losses to Western Province, the Blue Bulls and the Lions in the last three weeks see the team languishing in fifth position on the log with only two wins from their five starts this season.
Last weekend’s nail-biter against the top-rated team from Pretoria was particularly heart-breaking for captain Rob du Preez and his young side, given that they had raced to an 18-0 lead and managed to keep their noses in front all game, only to lose to a last-second try and go down by a single point, 21-22.
Fynn has opted to strengthen the pack this week, with former Waterkloof and SA Schools tighthead Marne Coetzee – still a matric pupil at Glenwood – brought in to start his first match in the number 3 jersey. Alongside him will be Morne du Plessis, a Waterkloof and SA Schools team mate, while Kirk Twine (blindside flank, first start) and fullback Sean Robinson also attended the Pretoria school. A fifth Waterkloof old boy, prop Leon Mulder, is on the bench as the spare front-ranker.
Paarl Gim flank Schalk van der Merwe has been named in the 22 for the first time and will look to make his debut if he comes off the bench.
The Sharks Under 19s
15. Sean Robinson, 14. Kotaro Matsushima 13. Tyler Fisher, 12. Gareth Meikle, 11. Alcino Izaacs, 10. Robert du Preez (Capt), 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Andrew van Tonder, 7. Kirk Twine, 6. Theo Kruger, 5. Myles Tucker, 4. David Fisher, 3. Marne Coetzee, 2. Morne du Plessis, 1. Nicolas Roebeck
16. Warrick Venter, 17. John-Hubert Meyer, 18. Hendrik Uys, 19. Schalk van der Merwe, 20. Takudzwa Chieza, 21. Brendan Cope, 22. Michael Bernardt, 23. Leon Mulder