Sean Everitt's Boeta to step up for the Sharks in Wellington
DURBAN – The Hurricanes have won their last four home games on the bounce against the Sharks but they will no doubt recall that they were extremely fortunate to win the last encounter in Wellington between the teams, in 2018 at the Westpac Stadium.
The Sharks had gone to Wellington fresh from putting 70 points past the Blues and had the game against the Hurricanes won until the home side sneaked a try after the hooter.
The last time the Sharks won in Wellington was in 2010, with the fixture generally going the way of the home side although the last match between the sides was a Hurricanes win in Durban, the first time in eight games between the two teams that the away team won on the day.
Interestingly, the Sharks go into tomorrow’s game (8.05am kickoff) with the statistic of having made the most kicks in play (67) of any side in the 2020 Super Rugby season - only two other sides have also made 50+ (Jaguares, 58, and Bulls, 52).
It would need to be taken into account that the Sharks’ first match was played in heavy humidity in Durban on January 31, against the Bulls, where kicking was the best option. They would have made less kicks against the Highlanders as they looked to counter-attack whenever possible.
In another fascinating fact, the Hurricanes have won the most scrums (16/16 or 100%) on their own feed of any side yet to lose one in Super Rugby 2020; in fact, the Sharks’ 75% success rate at the scrum is the second lowest of any team.
The Sharks indeed gave away too may penalties against the Highlanders and a couple of them were against tighthead Thomas du Toit, who continues to struggle to keep up his end of the scrum. At 135 kg, maybe he is just too heavy to keep himself upright.
Ahead of this Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes we thought we’d throw it back to this image of Francois Steyn and Ruan Pienaar in 2007 when we beat the Hurricanes 27-14 at Jonsson Kings Park. #ThrowbackThursday #OurSharksForever— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) February 13, 2020
📷: @howardcleland_rugbypics pic.twitter.com/CfhIclYSg9
The Sharks, meanwhile, have had to make a late change at flyhalf.
Henry “Boeta” Chamberlain makes his starting Super Rugby debut after a family bereavement meant the departure from the camp of Curwin Bosch.
Bosch has returned to South Africa and that means an opportunity for the 20-year-old Chamberlain, a product of Paarl Boys’ High.
Chamberlain was given opportunities by coach Sean Everitt in last year’s Currie Cup and showed some deft touches. He is adept at nudging balls into space off the boot and is a slick handler of the ball.
Chamberlain’s elevation to the starting line-up has meant an opening on the bench and, interestingly, Everitt has brought in an extra forward in loosie Phepsi Buthelezi.
That means the Sharks will have six forwards on the bench, an emulation of what Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus did at the World Cup.
The Sharks team is:
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhmbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Phendulani Buthelezi, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Jeremy Ward.