DURBAN – Continuity is always key in rugby, a sport that requires a lot of understanding from those around you. And, when it comes to keeping that continuity going, there is no better place to do it than down the spine.
The Sharks are in a good space to maintain a lot of their spine from Super Rugby going into the Currie Cup, ahead of their first game against the Blue Bulls at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium at 3pm on Saturday. This spine is then also surrounded with some exciting youngsters, eager to make their name in the senior colours of the Sharks.
It is an all-Springbok spine for the Sharks, starting with their captain Chiliboy Ralepelle in the middle of the front row. Then there is Dan du Preez at the back of the scrum, feeding Louis Schreuder and Robert du Preez, finally Curwin Bosch controls things from the back.
Schreuder admits that it is great to have this familiarity heading into the new competition, but it is also just as good to see the exciting talent emerging around him.
“It is important to keep the spine,” scrumhalf Schreuder said. “There are some Super Rugby guys that are experienced, and we work well together, so that will be good for us. There is also obviously some new faces, but these are guys that are very excited and they fit well into the team.”
Schreuder, now 28-years-old and a veteran of both Super Rugby and Currie Cup, admits that he is enjoying seeing the exciting new talent bubble around him.
“We have some very exciting youngsters, I wish I still had that excitement in me,” the scrumhalf grinned.
“Aphelele Fassi, and his try on the weekend - it was great, and we can see it in training as well, he is still young and needs to learn a lot but he is really exciting and he has a big future ahead of him.
“And Danrich Visagie as well, he will get chances too. But in the forwards as well, we have good props coming through, guys that don’t get as much game time in Super Rugby, but this is a good platform for them to put their name out there.”
The Sharks will face the Bulls, who were victorious against the Free State Cheetahs in their opening match, at home on Saturday. It is an important clash, as all the games will be in this shortened tournament that only has one round of six games before the semi-finals.