The Leopards will be up against it when they take on Sharks at Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday night; they’re sending a side packed chock-full of youngsters to take on a far more experienced, albeit not full strength, Sharks Super Rugby outfit.
Lock Brendon Snyman, who played many times for both Griquas and EP before making Potch his home in 2011, leads a young line-up where only prop Stoof Bezuidenhout, centre Charl Weideman and flanker Robert Kruger are “familiar names” from last year’s Currie Cup team. The bulk of the team is made up of Pukke students who are not currently playing for the Varsity Cup side, an indication that in Potch at least, the provincial side is seen as a less-important team than the Varsity’s…
There is one notable gain in the line-up, though, in the form of reserve prop Stephan Schoeman, who joins the Leopards from the Bulls junior ranks.
We obviously have no idea what sort of shape the Sharks will be in, given that this will be their first match in four months, but it’s unlikely they’ll encounter much meaningful opposition here. Let’s just hope they manage to get through the game without any injuries. The same goes for the Leopards, of course!
Leopards: 15 Cooper Smit; 14 Andrew van Wyk, 13 Charl Weideman, 12 Meel Engelbrecht, 11 Edmar Marais; 10 Johnny Welthagen, 9 Jaco Grobler; 8 James Meecham, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Arno Nel, 5 Brendon Snyman (capt), 4 Peet van der Walt, 3 Stoof Bezuidenhout, 2 Chris Schoonraad, 1 Ian Gregorofski.
Reserves: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Stephan Schoeman, 18 Elardus Visser, 19 Danie Jordaan, 20 James Marx, 21 Malherbe Swart, 22 Jacques Olivier, 23 Warren Gilbert, 24 Tiaan Loots, 25 Ian Heyns.