Sharks coach Robert du Preez seemingly doesn’t care that if critics think he is exercising nepotism after he included his son Robert in the starting line-up to face the Jaguares on Saturday.
The knock-on effect of that selection decision by the former Springbok scrumhalf is that Curwin Bosch is moved to fullback, despite starring at flyhalf in recent weeks, while the exciting young Aphelele Fassi is dropped to the bench.
Bosch has been shunted to the No 15 berth in the second half of several games, even though he has controlled things excellently for the Sharks as the pivot, so that Du Preez can come on at No 10.
This has resulted in Fassi, who provides a dynamic attacking edge from the back, having to go off the field.
It simply doesn’t make sense, and the Sharks mentor will be feeling the heat even more if they go down to the impressive Jaguares outfit in Buenos Aires on Saturday night (9.40pm SA time kickoff).
They come off a 30-17 defeat to the Hurricanes in Durban last week, where the match turned against them in the second half after they had clawed their way back into the game with a try by Juan Schoeman, which was converted by Bosch.
Fassi appeared to be punished for a rare mistake in the 58th minute when he knocked the ball on, as he was soon afterwards taken off for Robert du Preez.
Without a home ground advantage, the pressure is on for the @CellC Sharks in their Vodacom @SuperRugby game against the @JaguaresARG. 🏉#Oursharks need to dig deep to pull off a victory in Buenos Aires. 🏟#JAGvSHA #OurSharksForever 🦈 pic.twitter.com/5GRSqJ6ygG— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) June 6, 2019
One enforced change made by the coach on Thursday sees Tyler Paul starting at blindside flank for Jean-Luc du Preez, who has a knee problem.
The Sharks will hope to pull off a miracle victory against a Jaguares side on top of the South African conference with 41 points, with the Durbanites fourth on the local log on 33, to stay alive in the playoff race.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Bench: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Aphelele Fassi.@ashfakmohamed