DURBAN – The Sharks have a new flyhalf in Henry “Boeta” Chamberlain, who makes his senior debut for the Sharks in their Currie Cup match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Sunday afternoon.
Instead of going for the more experienced Rhyno Smith, who replaced regular, and vital, Curwin Bosch when he went off with a lower back sprain against the Cheetahs, coach Sean Everitt has opted for the youngster he coached in the all-conquering Sharks Under-19 side last year.
In the only other change to the starting XV, John-Hubert Meyer starts at tighthead prop for Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen, who has a ligament injury to his left knee.
Junior Springbok Dylan Richardson has been named on the bench as a hooker replacement and could make his first Currie Cup appearance.
Utility back Leolin Zas is also on the bench as Marius Louw picked up a knee injury last week.
“Boeta came to us from Paarl Boys High,” the coach said.
“He had shown promise from early in his high school career only to have injuries in Grades 11 and 12 that set him back, but we brought him to the Sharks because of the potential he showed in his younger days.
“He had a great season for the Under-19s last year and he played SuperSport Challenge this year at flyhalf and fullback and excelled, and latterly he has played really well for the Under 21s, so I have no hesitation in giving him this break,” Everitt said.
The Cell C Sharks have a huge assignment this weekend when they travel to Johannesburg to take on the Golden Lions at Emirates Airline Park in a vital Currie Cup clash on Sunday.— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) August 15, 2019
Full team release article: https://t.co/sRCvdgRMOz 🦈#LIOvSHA #OurSharksForever #Reloaded pic.twitter.com/xSbMfmb0oL
Chamberlain will surely be nervous, but he has experience outside him in Jeremy Ward (at No 12) and JP Pietersen (in the No 13 jersey).
Ward said: “Boeta is very excited. He is deserving of this opportunity after having played so well this year in other competitions.
“He has played with (scrumhalf) Sanele (Nohamba) for a while so that will give him confidence and then outside him JP (Pietersen) and myself will be in his ear all game.
“But he must play his natural game and express himself the way he has done so in the SuperSport Challenge and the Under-21s. If he does that he will really excel on Sunday.”
The Sharks have just this game and then an away game next week against the Bulls to stake a claim for the semi-finals, so the pressure is on the defending champions, who are currently some way out of play-off reckoning.
“The win last week really boosted the morale and the word that is standing out right now is 'excitement',” co-captain Ward said. “We are looking to grow and Sunday is another opportunity for that.
We know how tough the Lions are going to be, but we are excited for because we know we have a good plan, and that if we stick to it we will come out on tops.”@MikeGreenaway67