DURBAN – Sharks coach Robert du Preez confirmed lock Ruan Botha as captain of a 45-man squad on Thursday to do duty in Super Rugby this year.
Botha captained the Sharks in the Currie Cup last year and went on to be selected for the Springbok tour squad that did duty in Europe in November.
The squad consists of 25 forwards and 20 backs, with 12 of the players named capped at Springbok level. There are also a host of players that have represented the Junior Boks or featured in SA ‘A’ matches, including Botha.
Amongst the new faces in the team are Robert du Preez Jnr, Makazole Mapimpi and Leolin Zas.
Joining them for the first time in the Super Rugby squad is Akker van der Merwe, Louis Schreuder, Tyler Paul and Ross Geldenhuys.
Five players named in the squad are uncapped at Super Rugby level – Courtney Winnaar, Gideon Koegelenberg, Grant Williams, Kerron van Vuuren and Khuta Mchunu.
The Sharks play a friendly against the Bulls in Polokwane at the weekend and next week play Parisian club Racing 92 in Hong Kong. Their first Super Rugby match is against the Lions in Johannesburg on February 17.
The Sharks squad is:
Akker van der Merwe, André Esterhuizen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Cameron Wright, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Courtney Winnaar, Dan du Preez, Curwin Bosch, Franco Marais, Garth April, Gideon Koegelenberg, Grant Williams, Hyron Andrews, Jeremy Ward, Jacques Vermeulen, Johan Deysel, Jean Droste, Kobus van Wyk, Jean-Luc du Preez, Leolin Zas, John-Hubert Meyer, Louis Schreuder, Juan Schoeman, Lukhanyo Am, Keegan Daniel, Lwazi Mvovo, Kerron van Vuuren, Makazole Mapimpi, Khuta Mchunu, Marius Louw, Lubabalo ‘Tera’ Mtembu, Michael Claassens, Mzamo Majola, Rhyno Smith, Philip van der Walt, Rob du Preez, Ross Geldenhuys, Sbusiso Nkosi, Ruan Botha (captain), Tristan Blewett, Stephan Lewies, Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul, Wian Vosloo.