DURBAN - Despite the Currie Cup kicking off with no sign of the Sharks over a weekend where at least the Springboks were in town, the men from the coast did their bit to keep busy.
In a momentous occasion, the Sharks played for the first time at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, against the French side Bordeaux Begles. It was a great game for reasons outside the four white lines, but also a good exercise for the Currie Cup squad.
Coach Robert du Preez played arguably his strongest side, but also got a chance to blood a few impressive youngsters that put on the Sharks jersey at senior level for the first time.
“We made a lot of changes because we wanted to give everyone a run, but I thought it was a good exercise even though conditions were not great. That was a pity but I think the boys did really well for a first outing, especially the youngsters that really played well,” Du Preez said of the exhibition game.
There were a few standouts in the game, such as Aphelele Fassi on the wing, and Danrich Visagie coming off the bench. Fassi scored a brilliant individual try, but the coach was at pains not to focus too much on single performances.
“He’s a kid with lots of talent and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he goes in the Currie Cup this year,” said du Preez. “But singling out individual players isn’t fair, I just thought all the boys who pulled on the jersey for the first time did really well. I was very impressed with the effort out there. We had to control a lot of scraps on the floor, the loose balls, and their reactions were really great.”
The Sharks are also bolstered by former England No 8, Nick Easter, and Du Preez feels he can add a lot to his Currie Cup side going into the competition fully this week. “Nick has been here for a week and doing the breakdown with the team. He’s a guy with loads of experience as a rugby player and I’m sure the forwards in particular will learn a lot from him.
“He’s been coaching at Harlequins as defensive coach for the last couple of years so he comes with a lot of value. It’s great to have him with us and we’re all hoping to learn a lot from him,” Du Preez added.
The Sharks will be in action this weekend at Jonsson Kings Park when they take on the Bulls who beat the Cheetahs in round one. The game kicks off at 3pm.