Rob du Preez has done a bit of trimming in order to arrive at a final group of 45 names for this year’s Super Rugby competition. There are few surprises in a squad that posts ample depth, but also has room for several youngsters and newcomers at this level.
Three Super Rugby centurions are in the mix, with Beast Mtwarira (126), Odwa Ndungane (131) and Keegan Daniel (117) all having played at least 100 games at this level. Lwazi Mvovo, on 99, is sure to get there in a couple of weeks’ time as well. Other experienced players include Lourens Adriaanse, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jean Deysel and Pat Lambie, but otherwise, a general lack of caps in the squad points to the wider malaise of player drain affecting all local franchises. That said, the Sharks have worked hard to put together a core squad of players and there is plenty for fans to be excited about moving forward.
Du Preez’s backing of young players including winger Sbu Nkosi, scrumhalf Rowan Gouws, centres Jermey Ward, Marius Louw and Tristan Blewett, flyhalves Benhard Janse van Rennsburg and Inny Radebe and, of course, fullback Curwin Bosch points to a bright future for the Sharks. Also returning for his second season of Super Rugby is 20-year-old lock Hyron Andrews.
A number of players carrying injuries have been included – in fact, the Sharks are in good shape in this regard, with only Daniel du Preez, Keegan Daniel and John-Hubert Meyer currently not fit to start the season. Of those, only Daniel has a long term injury.
Props: Tendai Mtawarira, Lourens Adriaanse, Thomas du Toit, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juan Schoeman, John-Hubert Meyer
Hookers: Franco Marais, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Stephan Coetzee
Locks: Etienne Oosthuizen, Stephan Lewies, Hyron Andrews, Ruan Botha, Jean Droste
Loose Forwards: Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Tera Mtembu, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Philip van der Walt, Khaya Majola, Francois Kleinhans, Jacques Vermeulen
Scrumhalves: Cobus Reinach, Michael Claassens, Hanco Venter, Rowan Gouws
Flyhalves: Patrick Lambie, Garth April, Inny-Christian Radebe, Benhard Janse van Rensburg
Centres: Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am, Jeremy Ward, Johan Deysel, Marius Louw, Tristan Blewett
Wings: Odwa Ndungane, Lwazi Mvovo, S’bura Sithole, Kobus van Wyk, S’busiso Nkosi
Fullbacks: Curwin Bosch, Rhyno Smith, Clément Poitrenaud