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Ken Borland

Powell is Sharks’ public-facing spokesman for 1st time & announces team densely populated with Boks

Posted on January 09, 2023 by Ken

Neil Powell was the public-facing spokesman for the Sharks for the first time on Thursday as he announced a starting line-up densely populated with Springboks for their United Rugby Championship clash with Ulster in Durban on Saturday.

Powell is the new director of rugby at Kings Park and took over team announcement duties from head coach Sean Everitt for the first time on Thursday. The former Springbok Sevens coach said that would now be the norm, and while he has the final say in selection, Everitt and the other coaches are extensively consulted.

And so the Sharks will run out on Saturday with eight Springboks, including the entire front row, two other forwards and three backs, to take on the powerful Ulster outfit. It is a mirror image of last weekend’s game against Glasgow Warriors, when there were five Springboks on the bench and they produced a spectacular finish to turn a one-point lead after 50 minutes into a 40-12 win.

“I talk a lot with Sean about selection, especially when it came to how to introduce the Springboks. They were on the bench last weekend, but now we’re bringing them into the starting line-up,” Powell said.

“It’s always great to have them and the URC is always a squad effort. We are fortunate to have the Boks for the last two weeks because they go back to the national set-up after this game.

“They’ll come back just before our game against Harlequins in the European Cup [December 10], so we had to make sure they integrated well now, because that competition will be a massive challenge.

“And it’s also given us the opportunity to rest some of the guys who have played the last four/five matches in a row. We have to make sure we manage the whole squad well,” Powell said.

While Powell said his focus is on upskilling and improving aspects of the URC team’s play, he is also concentrating on making the academy the sort of place to which rugby legends would be happy to send their son.

“My job is about building the brand and the team, and that can only happen if we have success on the field, so that’s my focus,” Powell said.

“But I’ll also look after the academy and make sure we get juniors coming through from the U20 competition to the Currie Cup and through to the URC.

“We don’t want to have to buy players from outside our system, so we need to change things up there. I’ll also be looking at the coaching structure at senior level.

“But it’s not a one-man show, it’s going to be a combined effort,” Powell said.

Sharks team: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Marnus Potgieter, Ben Tapuai, Makazole Mapimpi, Boeta Chamberlain, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Vincent Tshituka, Siya Kolisi, Hyron Andrews, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Bench – Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Carlu Sadie, Reniel Hugo, James Venter, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Cameron Wright, Anthony Volmink.

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