DURBAN – The Sharks have named a strong line-up for tonight’s historic match against French giants Bordeaux Bègles at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, 7pm kick-off.
It is the first time that the Sharks will be playing a rugby match at the iconic stadium and the plan is for this fixture against a big name European club to be an annual event - The Durban Challenge.
For the Sharks, this is an ideal warm-up for their Currie Cup campaign, which starts at Kings Park next Saturday against the Bulls, while for Bordeaux it is an opportunity to tune up for their French Top 14 competition which also starts next Saturday.
Hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will lead a youthful side that contains a number of Super Rugby players, despite the host of Sharks on duty with the Springboks or on sabbatical in Japan.
Such is the depth at hooker from Springbok level through to the Sharks that in-form Akker van der Merwe will do bench duty behind captain Ralepelle.
Another Bok, Curwin Bosch, was not considered for selection due to injury. His place at fullback is taken by a new kid on the block in former Dale College pupil Courtney Winnaar.
Another product of the Dale College nursery, Aphelele Fassi, makes his Sharks debut on the wing.
Former SA Unde-20 captain Jeremy Ward comes into the side at outside centre.
A new face at the Sharks is Luke Stringer, the Western Province flank, who has moved to Durban for the Currie Cup.