The exodus of talent from last year’s Sharks under 21 side continues, with the news that two more Academy graduates will feature in midfield for WITS in tonight’s Varsity Cup opener.
While it’s certainly to be expected that many of those who play under 21 for a province won’t necessarily go on to be rewarded with senior contracts at the same union, there certainly has been somewhat of a cull when it comes to last year’s crop, with the centres in particular feeling the pinch. Of those who represented the Sharks under 21 side in midfield last year, only Heimar Williams remains (with a senior contract), with all the others leaving.
Jared Meyer and Kayde Fisher (the latter the elder brother of under 19 hero Tyler) will play together in midfield for WITS against Shimlas this evening, much as they did for a number of years as the established “alternate pairing” to Williams and either Piet Lindeque or Wandi Mjekevu. Lindeque, as we revealed last year, has also left to join Tuks, whilst Mjekevu will continue to play in Durban, albeit without a contract. The former Lions age-group star will be a member of Rovers’ squad for the inaugural Community Cup.
The removal of so many centres opens up the possibility for a new crop to stake their claim in the Sharks’ Vodacom Cup team this year, with captain Williams set to be joined by the younger Fisher as well as the likes of Mike Bernhardt and new boy Andre Esterhuizen.
FNB Wits: 15 Bronson Lange, 14 Jacques Erasmus, 13 Kayde Fisher, 12 Jared Meyer, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Latiume Fosita, 9 Brent Crossley, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Carel Greef, 6 Thato Mavundla, 5 Rinus Bothma, 4 Devin Montgomery (captain), 3 Phakamilu Zuma, 2 Piers Cooper, 1 Hannes Ludick.
Replacements: 16 Rory Anderson, 17 Luvuyo Pumpuma, 18 Shai Korb, 19 Charles Baggot, 20 Mathew Torrance, 21 Gregory Blom, 22 Nkuli Gamede, 23 Katlego Kgama.