Sharks set to take a dip in international waters

2014-01-19 14:00

The Sharks, with a new coach, a new captain, a new jersey and a new way of starting the season, intend to bring in the new year with a big splash.

They will start their preparation for the Super Rugby tournament with a match against leading English club Saracens in London on Saturday.

It will be Jake White’s first match in charge, Bismarck du Plessis will take over the captain’s mantle and they will have their first experience of playing on an artificial pitch at Saracens’ Allianz Park.

Former Springbok and Sharks captain John Smit, who took over as CEO of the Sharks last year, has been instrumental in engineering an association with Saracens that might pave the way for other South African teams in the future.

White conceded that taking on a team that is at the top of the English Aviva Premiership could be too tough for the Sharks’ first outing of the season, but he said the intensity will provide the ideal opportunity “to see how the many talented juniors in the squad respond”.

White has also installed Francois Steyn at inside centre and guaranteed Patrick Lambie the Sharks’ No 10 jersey.

The coach said he has no doubt that Du Plessis will grow to be an outstanding leader. “He has the presence, the confidence, the ability and the backing of the group.”

Sharks touring squad

Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Stephan Lewies, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Etienne Oosthuizen.

Backs: Andre Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Paul Jordaan, Charl McLeod, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Francois Steyn, Timothy Swiel, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams, Fred Zeilinga.

The Saracens squad for the match includes former Sharks players Brad Barritt, Alistair Hargreaves as well as a number of other South African-born players.

»SuperSport will broadcast the match, starting at 4.15pm on CSN, SS1 and SHD

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