Lwazi Mvovo is set to start in the number fifteen jersey in the Sharks' opening Super Rugby match. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
DURBAN - No doubt Sharks coach Robert du Preez has settled on his backline for Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park but it would have taken him a few headaches before he settled on his line-up.

The Sharks have an embarrassment of riches in terms of backline depth and there will be no shortage of reserves to draw on as the season progresses and injuries mount.

As far as the back three alone is concerned, the coach can draw on Lwazi Mvovo, the probable starting fullback, wings Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi and Kobus van Wyk, plus Curwin Bosch who is as adept at flyhalf as he is at fullback, the position he played for the SA Under-21 side last year.

Bosch, it would seem, is not going to start at flyhalf against the Lions.

That position has been occupied by Robert du Preez jnr in the warm-up games, with Mvovo at fullback, so the portents are that Bosch will play off the bench at this stage of the tournament.

Wing Nkosi had an excellent Currie Cup and was headed for Springbok colours only to suffer an unfortunate cheek bone injury.

In the meantime, Mapimpi has joined the Sharks from the Cheetahs and it is probable that he will get one of the wing berths, with experienced Van Wyk likely to get the other.

But it is early days and all of those players will get their share of rugby over the three months of the competition.

Likewise the centres that are queuing up for the 12 and 13 jerseys.

Blockbusting inside centre Andre Esterhuizen is back from Japan and while he has not played any warm-up games for the Sharks, it is likely that he will start against the Lions with Lukhanyo Am at outside centre.

The Sharks also have Marius Louw, the former Grey College flank that converted to centre after school and has been in superb form in the warm-up games at 12, plus there is former SA Under-21 captain Jeremy Ward, who missed the Currie Cup because of injury but is now raring to go.

Young Tristan Blewett, a product of Hilton College, is another promising centre pushing for a place.

As far as flyhhalf and scrumhalf are concerned, Du Preez looks set for the 10 jersey and with Louis Schreuder injured, Cameron Wright is likely to start against the Lions. Let’s not forget that the talented Garth April can play just about any position in the backline.

The Mercury

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