Wing Kotaro Matsushima and centre Gareth Meikle both return to the Sharks under 19 side to face the Bulls on Friday, after both missing out on last weekend’s great win against Western Province at home.
Both players have been stalwarts this season and aside from last week, have started virtually every game in the number 14 and 12 positions respectively. Meikle comes in to replace compatriot Takudzwa Chieza at inside centre, with the latter dropping to the bench. Matsushima is back at right wing, with the unfortunate Mike Bernhardt, who scored the opening try against Province, missing out altogether this week.
Sphu Msutwana is the other unfortunate player to lose his place in the 23 this week, with Chieza taking over from him in the number 22 jersey.
The Sharks lost to the Blue Bulls at Kings Park earlier in the season by a single point, after failing to defend a big half-time lead. They’ll know that they will have to do a lot better than that performance in order to win at Loftus, but will take some comfort from the fact that despite being billed as the “best ever side assembled at under 19 level”, this superstar Bulls outfit has failed to impress and suffered a home defeat at the hands of the self-same Province team that the Sharks defeated, just a week earlier.
Sharks Under 19s
15. Sean Robinson, 14. Kotaro Matsushima, 13. Tyler Fisher, 12. Gareth Meikle, 11. Alcino Izaacs, 10. Robert du Preez (Capt), 9. Cameron Wright, 8. Jean Pretorius, 7. Andrew van Tonder, 6. Francois van der Vyver, 5. Myles Tucker, 4. Gideon Koegelenberg, 3. Marne Coetzee, 2. Morne du Plessis, 1. Nicolas Roebeck
16. Warrick Venter, 17. John-Hubert Meyer, 18. Louis Hazelhurst, 19. Theo Kruger, 20. Stefan Ungerer, 21. Brendan Cope, 22. Takudzwa Chieza, 23. Matthew Jones