Etienne Fynn has been able to name his strongest line up to face the Blue Bulls in tomorrow’s Under 19 semi-final at Loftus. His Sharks team finished the regular season in third place, behind the second-place Blue Bulls and will take confidence from a narrow in at Loftus two weeks ago.
In fact, so close have these two teams been all season that it’s been impossible to separate them. Over the course of two games, the aggregate scoreline is 58-all, with each side having beaten the other once, by a single point, away from home. That said, this is knock-out rugby and the Blue Bulls, with their far stronger squad (on paper) will go all out for a home win.
Lock Gideon Koegelenberg returns to partner Myles Tucker in the second row, while first-choice front rankers Nic Roebeck and Morne du Plessis are also back in tow, after rotational changes saw them bench last week. Fynn has also been able to reunite his best loose trio, with blindside flanker Andrew van Tonder and number 8 Jean Pretorius in particularly good form.
The backline is a settled unit now, lead by Rob du Preez at flyhalf. Wingers Alcino Izaacs and Kotaro Matsushima have both been in fine try-scoring form and will be itching to get on the scoreboard at Loftus, while the smart money is, of course, on Tyler Fisher to find a way to add to his tally of 13 season tries, whatever the result.
Sharks under 19: 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
Replacements: 16. Warrick Venter, 17. John-Hubert Meyer, 18. Louis Hazelhurst, 19. David Fisher, 20. Brendan Cope, 21. Takudzwa Chieza , 22. Michael Bernardt, 23. Matthew Jones