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Ken Borland

Everitt brings 5 new starters into the Sharks conversation – & 2 more on the bench 0

Posted on November 02, 2020 by Ken

Sharks coach Sean Everitt on Thursday brought five new starters into the conversation – and two more on the bench – for their SuperRugby Unlocked match against the Pumas in Nelspruit.

Three of the changes were forced by injury, with openside flank James Venter (ankle), tighthead prop Thomas du Toit (calf) and eighthman Sikhumbuzo Notshe (slight hamstring strain) all not available this weekend.

The new faces

Dan Jooste – Everitt has been talking all season about hooker Dylan Richardson adapting to his new position in the front row, but now the 21-year-old former junior international gets the chance to show how interchangeable he is with openside flank as he replaces James Venter in the No.6 jersey.

Jooste is a Paarl Boys’ High product and former Stormers representative who is of similar physical dimensions to Richardson and, according to Everitt, “needs game time after coming off the bench on SuperFan day and against the Lions following a considerable length of time out with a shoulder injury”.

John-Hubert Meyer – The absence of World Cup winner Du Toit will leave the Sharks a bit bereft of leadership and grunt up front, but the Sharks have managed to locate an experienced replacement in Meyer, also born and educated in the Western Cape. The 27-year-old is a seasoned scrummager and knows his way around the gainline.

JJ van der Mescht – The Sharks second row has not been particularly good at either dominating the lineouts or making their presence felt in the collisions, and Everitt has made a change to try and generate more momentum from the tight five. Van der Mescht replaces Ruben van Heerden in the starting line-up, and while both Pretoria products are two metres tall, the 21-year-old Van der Mescht weighs 130kg (14kg more) and is a big force with ball in hand.

Henco Venter – Everitt has been at pains to point out how well his loose trio have actually been playing, but in private he must be concerned over how they have been bullied twice by the Bulls. Former Free Stater Henco Venter, at 1.93 metres and 107kg, will add a harder edge in the loose.

Madosh Tambwe – The exciting speed merchant has been nursing a hamstring strain since the start of the season, but Tambwe is now ready to go and Everitt is eager to give him game time despite the energy brought to the back three by Werner Kok.

Michael Kumbirai – According to Everitt, tighthead prop Kumbirai has worked really hard since his arrival from Western Province and there is excitement at Kings Park over getting him in the mix. “Michael is so keen to get on the field and add value, he’s got the ability to shine and hopefully he takes this opportunity. He’s a physical specimen, well-built and athletic,” Everitt said.

Thembelani Bholi – Bholi has recently moved to Durban from the Bulls, having first made his name with the Southern Kings. A loose forward with a hard edge, Bholi is well-versed at making a physical statement at the gain-line, having spent much of his career at Loftus Versfeld. He is also growing his skills and is able to turn out at eighthman as well.

Sharks team: Manie Libbok, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am (c), Marius Louw, Madosh Tambwe, Curwin Bosch, Sanele Nohamba, Phendulani Buthelezi, Henco Venter, Dylan Richardson, Hyron Andrews, JJ van der Mescht, John-Hubert Meyer, Dan Jooste, Ox Nche. Replacements – Kerron van Vuuren, Mzamo Majola, Michael Kumbirai, Ruben van Heerden, Thembelani Bholi, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Yaw Penxe.

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