The Sharks have sustained an injury blow even before boarding the plane to Singapore, as Curwin Bosch has been ruled out of their Super Rugby opener against the Sunwolves on Saturday.
Springbok utility back Bosch was set to start at flyhalf for the Durbanites at the National Stadium (12.55pm SA time kickoff), but has been sidelined by a shoulder injury picked up against the Bulls in their final warm-up game last weekend.
Coach Robert du Preez’s son Robert Junior is being brought back slowly after a short stint with English club Sale Sharks, but will now have to step into the No 10 jersey against the Japanese outfit.
Centre Marius Louw is not part of the 25-man squad either, but apart from Springboks such as Tendai Mtawarira, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Coenie Oosthuizen, there are also several promising youngsters.
Currie Cup star Aphelele Fassi is joined by Under-19 No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, while Kerron van Vuuren and Khutha Mchunu are two more new names in the group.
“Starting the tournament on a high is very important – we don’t want to play catch-up rugby,” Oosthuizen told the Sharks website on Tuesday.
“This is not an easy game for us, especially not there in Singapore. It’s like playing the Cheetahs – you don’t go to Bloemfontein and win easily.
“We expect them to put up a fight physically, they maul well, they can stand up to any pack – it’s what we expect from any South African team.
“Underestimating the Sunwolves is one of the biggest mistakes a team can make.”
We chatted to @CellC Sharks Captain, @LouisSchreuder before #OurSharks jetted off to Singapore ahead of their opening Vodacom @SuperRugby game against the @sunwolves and he is excited to kick off the campaign after a long pre-season.🏉#SHAvSUN #OurSharksForever 🦈 pic.twitter.com/bBzLvdohYW— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) February 12, 2019
Sharks Tour Squad
Akker van der Merwe, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Cameron Wright, Coenie Oosthuizen, Daniel du Preez, Gideon Koegelenberg, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Jeremy Ward, Juan Schoeman, Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu, Louis Schreuder (captain), Lukhanyo Am, Lwazi Mvovo, Makazole Mapimpi, Phepsi Buthelezi, Rhyno Smith, Robert du Preez, Ruan Botha, Sbu Nkosi, Tendai Mtawarira, Tyler Paul, Wian Vosloo.@ashfakmohamed